Months after dozens of walruses and thousands of birds died in mysterious circumstances in the Bering Sea, scientists have discovered a clue in the case: positive test results for algal toxins associated with warm waters. Four walruses and five seabirds were carrying saxitoxin, an algal biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning. Whether the saxitoxin contributed to the deaths is unknown and unlikely to be determined, but it is a sign of changes in the Bering Sea, where waters are now warmer than they were in the past and where sea ice has been running at record lows for this time of year, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
This spring, I spent close to two weeks flying over central Nunavut, peering out the window of a small plane at the rolling tundra below, looking for and counting caribou to monitor their numbers.The Qamanirjuaq barren-ground herd were arriving on their tundra calving grounds to give birth after migrating from winter ranges in the boreal forest. At times caribou dotted the landscape all the way to the horizon.
A provision to allow oil and gas exploration in a portion of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge passed the U.S. Senate as part of the Republican tax bill early Saturday morning. The controversial provision, which was added by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, survived a push in October led by Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington state Democrat, to remove it. It also required some last-minute revisions to satisfy arcane Senate procedural rules. Alaska's congressional delegation praised the provision's inclusion in the final version of the Senate bill.
Beaufort Sea polar bears are spending more time on land — and becoming more exposed to land-based diseases, scientists find
Polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea are spending more time on shore as Arctic sea ice diminishes — and are increasingly exposed to disease pathogens associated with land animals as a result, according to newly published research. The first documented signs of the polar bears' exposure came from measures of antibodies in the animals' blood.
A controversial plan to open Alaska’s Arctic refuge using federal budget bill moves a step closer to reality
Oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge came a step closer to reality on Wednesday with conditional approval from a Senate committee. On a party-line 13-10 vote, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved legislation sponsored by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski that would fold approval of ANWR oil and gas leasing into the broad tax bill being considered by Congress and promoted by the Trump administration.
Politicians from around the globe are this week meeting in Bonn, Germany for talks on how to implement the Paris agreement to fight climate change. The agreement aims to limit warming of the planet to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Reaching such goal would require to keep a large proportion of existing fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Norway, however, has no plans to leave possible Barents Sea oil under ground. In its 23rd licensing round, oil companies were offered new acreage and exploration drilling has already started.
Scientists are increasingly confident about predictions of an ice-free Arctic in summer in the 2040s
The Arctic Ocean is expected to be virtually ice-free in late summer in the 2040s, the release of carbon from thawing permafrost is expected to add to climate warming and human activities are likely to have contributed to the increased frequency of wildfires in Alaska's boreal forests and the decrease in June snow cover at high latitudes, including Alaska.
WASHINGTON — Numerous Alaskans testified Thursday before a U.S. Senate committee run by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski about what it would mean to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.
Alaska is establishing a climate change strategy to keep the state in line with carbon-reduction goals set in the 2015 Paris Accords, the state's Republican governor, Bill Walker announced on Tuesday. The Alaska Climate Change Strategy and Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team — a 15-member leadership team to be formed to help tackle problems — were launched through an administrative order that Walker signed at a Tuesday news conference in the state capital Juneau.
Reindeer husbandry has been practiced on the Seward Peninsula for over a century. The reindeer are maintained as a local food source and a source of economic development. The Kawerak Reindeer Herders Association works with herders to improve herd management and develop a viable reindeer industry. The University of Alaska Fairbanks teaches herders how to work within the commercial system of inspection, packaging, shipping, and marketing. Future industry development may involve obtaining funding for a slaughter facility to create jobs and sell meat to customers such as the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC), other communities in the region, and artisanal markets in Anchorage or other places.