Coastal residents and scientists alike have been stunned by just how fast northern Alaska's sea ice vanished this spring.
The abnormally rapid melt was caused by well-above-average ocean temperatures, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
In the past, hunters could find bearded seals on sea ice just outside the village of Kivalina, according to Janet Mitchell, a resident of the town.
But this year, because the ice melt had chased the seals so far to the north, hunters from her family had to travel more than 50 miles by boat to find the seals in early June.
"We didn't know if we'd have our winter food," she said.
"That was scary."
Rick Thoman, a climatologist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, posted on social media last week that the northern Bering and southern Chukchi seas are "baking."
Sea surface temperatures last week were as high as 9 degrees above the 1981-2010 average, reaching into the lower 60s, he said, with effects on the climate system, food web, communities and commerce.
Is Alaska's vanishing ice related to the Fukushima disaster which occurred in March 2011?
Around 2011, 2012, reports of whales, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, sea lions, birds, fish, starfish and a host of over marine life along the west coast of North America began making the news.
Each year since then the situation has steadily increased were we now have whales, sharks, seals and birds dying in unprecedented numbers leaving the "experts" apparently baffled.
Starfish begin melting in 2011.
In 2011, record numbers of sea star (starfish) began melting and dying from Baja California to the Gulf of Alaska, with some "experts" blaming high sea temperatures, oxygen depletion and low salinity due to freshwater runoff, however, Sara Norman a researcher claimed radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster could be killing the sea stars.
Arctic ozone hole appears for the first time in 2011
According to Nature.com, chemical ozone destruction over the Arctic in early 2011 was—for the first time in the observational record—comparable to that in the Antarctic ozone hole.
Unusually long-lasting cold conditions in the Arctic lower stratosphere led to persistent enhancement in ozone-destroying forms of chlorine and to unprecedented ozone loss, which exceeded 80 per cent over 18–20 kilometres altitude.
Our results show that Arctic ozone holes are possible even with temperatures much milder than those in the Antarctic. More here
NASA Pinpoints Causes of 2011 Arctic Ozone Hole
A combination of extremely cold temperatures, man-made chemicals and a stagnant atmosphere were behind what became known as the Arctic ozone hole of 2011, a new NASA study finds.
Maps of ozone concentrations over the Arctic come from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite. The left image shows March 19, 2010, and the right shows the same date in 2011. March 2010 had relatively high ozone, while March 2011 has low levels. Credit: NASA/Goddard Full story
Iodine depletes ozone
The increase of ozone-depleting substances was likelier emitted from Fukushima.
Iodine-131 and its decay product xenon are highly effective toward that end.
The argument for ozone as a prime candidate was bolstered by an otherwise unrelated 2013 study by chemists at Leeds and York universities in the UK.
The joint team found that iodine, along with bromine, in seawater accounts for up to 50 more of ozone loss than previously believed.
Professor Lucy Carpenter at York asserts that most of that iodine in the sea originates from nuclear-processing plants.
Arctic Ozone Hole & Polar Melt Triggered By The Fukushima Catastrophe.
An ozone hole opened over the Arctic Circle in March 2011, and by the next year, the polar ice sheet began to melt and break apart.
Expanding faster than any projections for global-warming trends, these unanticipated shocks left climatologists in benumbed silence.
Only a few experts have emerged from their cubby holes with timid explanations that are inadequate to the vast scale of these geophysical events.
The post-311 polar crisis consists of two separate, and possibly interrelated, events: the thinning and loss of the ozone layer over the Arctic Circle in 2011; and the sudden melt and break-up of the ice. Full story
2013 a Pacific blob of warm water off the coast of Alaska is discovered!
Initially, the Blob was reported as being 500 miles (800 km) wide and 300 feet (91 m) deep.
It expanded and reached the size 1,000 miles (1,600 km) long, 1,000 miles (1,600 km) wide and 300 feet (91 m) deep, in the month of June 2014 when the term "The Blob" was coined.
The Blob now hugs the coast of North America from Mexico to Alaska and beyond, over a stretch of 2,000 miles (3,200 km) and more, and has formed three distinct patches, the first, off the coast of Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California, a region known to oceanographers as the Coastal Upwelling Domain; the second off Alaska and in the Bering Sea; and the third and smallest, off Southern California and Mexico.
In February 2014, the temperature of the Blob was around 2.5 °C (4.5 °F) warmer than what was usual for the time of year.
A NOAA scientist noted in September 2014, based on ocean temperature records, that the North Pacific Ocean had not previously experienced temperatures so warm since climatologists began taking recordings.
The Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle has predicted reduced catches of coho and Chinook salmon, (which have actually been wiped out) a major contributing factor being the raised temperatures of seawater in the Blob.
Salmon catches in 2017 dropped off entirely leaving Alaskan salmon fishermen asking the government for compensation.
Thousands of sea lion pups are starving in California leading to forced beachings.
Thousands of Cassin's auklets in Oregon have starved due to lack of food, as have common murres and Puffins.
In addition, animals which favour warm waters and which have never been seen as far north as Alaska, have been spotted, examples being the warm water thresher sharks (Alopias spp) and ocean sunfish (Mola mola).
In the spring of 2016, acres of Velella velella were reported in the waters south of the Copper River Delta (thousands of miles away from their natural waters).
The discovery of a skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), primarily a fish of warm tropical waters, off Copper River, in Alaska, 200 miles (320 km) north of the previous geographic limit, and a dead sooty storm-petrel (Oceanodroma tristrami), a species native to Northern Asia and Hawaii, along with a few brown boobies (Sula leucogaster) in the Farallon Islands of California, besides other such records, has led to worries amongst marine biologists that the food web across the Pacific is in danger of disruption.
Biologists from The University of Queensland observed the first ever mass bleaching event for Hawaiian coral reefs in 2014 and attributed it to the blob. Wikipedia
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