Polar bear on sea ice. Alaska, Beaufort Sea. / Courtesy NOAA National Ice Center, collection of Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon

Record low sea ice — dramatically small Arctic sea ice maximum in March 2017

Arctic sea ice maximum hit a record low in March 2017. Arctic sea ice covered less area than it has any other year since satellite records began in 1979. This record low is the newest in a three-year string of record low Arctic sea ice maximums. Sea ice grows and dwindles with the polar seasons. […]

The community of Point Hope, Alaska shares bowhead whale flipper slices / © Clark James Mishler

Cultural wealth, Point Hope subsistence and sea ice

Whale fin slices in the hands of Point Hope locals are evidence of ancient tradition. Subsistence hunting and gathering provide food and raw materials which support rural Alaskan communities. Subsistence activities make possible customs and traditions… they help define culture. A warming Arctic and associated environmental changes threaten these ways of life. Photographer Clark James […]

UAVs trail building potential sea ice maps

Trail building potential with UAV maps

“Breaking ice: it’s a community effort where a large amount of ice is leveled by the use of only hand tools,” said Eyal Saiet. Trail building off Barrow’s shore happens every spring. “It can be more than a month’s effort of breaking trail, so anything that can help breaking trail is of value.” “Sea ice […]

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Sniffing The Arctic videos are released

Temperatures in the Arctic are warming twice as quickly as the global average. Globally, 2015 was the hottest year on record (reported by NOAA and NASA) and the month of January 2016 saw a new record low level for Arctic sea ice extent (reported by the NSIDC). Sea ice loss alters the solar radiation balance […]

Examples of oxygen isotopes, Oxygen-16 and Oxygen-18, have 8 protons but varying numbers of electrons

Isotopes in the water cycle story

For the past 20 years, Dr. Jeff Welker, a Fulbright Distinguished US Arctic Chair, has been investigating the water isotope cycle in the Arctic and across all of N America. His US Network for Isotopes in Precipitation (USNIP) and his Alaska Water Isotope Network (AKWIN) are multi-site programs that quantify the means by which the […]

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Seeing sea ice formation

The structure of an ice core tells a story about its life cycle; you can take a look and read it like a timeline. Geophysicist Andy Mahoney, assistant research professor in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, extracted a sea ice core offshore from Barrow, Alaska. He described how sea ice takes form. When […]

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Rough but not too rough sea ice

The scientists snapped small icicles off the underside of a chunk of sea ice that had broken away from its pack and rafted up onto the edge of another ice floe. Andrew Mahoney, geophysicist and assistant research professor in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, explained the icicles would taste incredibly salty. “It isn’t […]

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Drilling sea ice– extracting a sea ice core

Geophysicist Andy Mahoney balanced a cylinder of ice on the top of his boot for a moment as he extracted it from a drill barrel. The balancing act kept loose snow lying on top of the sea ice Mahoney stood on from attaching itself to the extracted ice’s surface. The ice core looked like art: […]

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Standing on the Beaufort Sea – new sea ice videos

Whether from the perspective of a helicopter pilot, a research scientist, or a local whale hunter, sea ice is an impactful part of Arctic life. Visit Frontier Scientists to watch new videos: ‘Barrow Ready Waiting‘, ‘Buoys On Ice‘, ‘Standing on the Beaufort Sea‘, and ‘First Year Or Multi Year Ice‘. Geophysicist Andy Mahoney, assistant research […]