New study on Arctic warming: Was 2017 a tipping point?

Sea-ice changes in recent years. A true-colour MODIS satellite image showing northern Bering and Chukchi sea-ice conditions on 2 June 2017. The red dotted lines denote the 1980–2010 ice-edge climatology for 2 June. Yellow stars denote locations of oceanographic moorings M8 and CEO.
The inset locates the study region. Credit: NASA Worldview.

The guests on this Hometown Alaska have all been working on a study of ecosystem changes in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. They are among a multidisciplinary team of academic, government and private sector scientists who recently published a paper documenting dramatic changes in the Pacific Arctic ecosystems due to warmer ocean conditions. You can find the abstract of their paper here.

It was published in Nature Climate Change, a monthly peer-reviewed science journal covering all aspects of climate change from both physical and social sciences. It is published by Nature Research, which also publishes the weekly Nature magazine.

These scientists will walk us through their findings and explain the potential impact on human society. Among their observations? Bowhead whales that typically migrate south of St. Lawrence Island were observed year round north of the Bering Strait. And juvenile Arctic cod, which generally dominate in the north Chukchi Sea, were substantially more abundant in 2017 than in 2012 and 2013. Sea ice that used to start forming each fall has been absent or sparse into January and February and spring ice retreat has been earlier than normal in recent years. Join us, and your questions are welcome throughout the hour.

HOST: Kathleen McCoy


  • Francis Wiese, Stantec’s technical director for the Marine Arctic Ecosystem Study
  • Henry Huntington, lead author of the paper, an independent researcher with areas of interest in sea ice, social science, interdisciplinary research and Indigenous knowledge
  • Seth Danielsen, associate professor, physical oceanography, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at UAF


  • Their paper: “Evidence suggests potential transformation of the Pacific Arctic ecosystem is underway,” Abstract, Nature Climate Change
  • Marine Arctic Ecosystem Study (MARES), Stantec website
  • MARES background, National Oceanographic Partnership Program website
  • Seth Danielsen bio information, scroll to his name at this UAF website
  • Henry Huntington bio information, from Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) website
  • Francis Wiese bio information, from the Stantec website


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  • LIVE: Monday, March 30, 2020 at 2:00 p.m
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