First year sea ice is becoming more prominent near Barrow, Alaska, while multi year sea ice declines. Hear about ice trends from the perspectives of a scientist and of a local whale hunter in this video by Frontier Scientists.
First Year Versus Multi Year Sea Ice Trend Local Perspective
Nagruk Harcharek is the Operations Manager at UIC Science, in Barrow, Alaska.
“Since I was a kid I’ve noticed the ice, I guess, quality – and I say quality because I’m an active participant in the whaling community here in Barrow so quality of the ice is very important to us – since I was a kid and to this point the ice quality has degraded. It almost seems impossible that we can go out during the spring season and actually harvest whales, it’s getting so bad.” ~Nagruk Harcharek
“The way that scientists put it is, it’s called multi year ice but what we would call it is called piqaluyak, and it’s actually where we go to get fresh water ice, believe it or not, on the ocean. There used to be a lot more of it and I can remember it: growing up there would just be fields of this stuff. Not anymore… I haven’t come across it in a number of years. All of the ice that is formed and is right offshore now that we are actively whaling off of, or will be within the next couple weeks, is all first year ice, when previously it would be multi year ice which is a lot thicker, can support a lot bigger whale and is also just inherently a lot safer to be on because of the thickness. It’s grounded.” ~Nagruk Harcharek
“Andy’s group, they have that Barrow sea ice radar. We use that for work every day. And throughout the whaling season, we’ll just look at it. At least coming into work when there’s no lead we’ll turn on the Barrow sea ice monitor and see if it’s moving, or if it did open up, and then usually I lose all my staff because they all want to go whaling.” ~Nagruk Harcharek
First Year Or Multi Year Ice video | FrontierScientists