Observation by Carol Oliver:
It's really different; the gulls were screaming, maybe herring and tomcods in the Bay: maybe it will freeze later but we'll see. And I'm thinking the Iditarod will probably have to travel overland again.
More comments from Carol Oliver on 12/06/2018:
By now the seagulls are usually gone, because of the cold. We came in from Anchorage on Monday and saw many seagulls in Nome's harbor. In years past, we'd be so happy to see the first returning seagulls in April or May. Also in years past, we usually fished for tomcods, herring, smelt in October. We always looked forward to them!!! This year, I don't know if anyone got to fish, as the ice wasn't safe to go on. Some people went up to the fish camp, Kitchavik River to fish for trout; People on the Search and Rescue team, caught tomcods, pike and white fish at the head of the Bay last month, as they used hooks to drag the
floor of the Lagoon. Our Bay isn't frozen yet, I can see the white caps, and huge swells. Hope this weather calms down and passes.
Richard Thoman, Alaska Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, writes:
Autumn 2018 was the warmest of record across all of western Alaska, and ice formation in the Bering Sea through the end of November was very slow. The weather pattern has not been as unfavorable as 2017 for ice growth but ocean temperatures have been (and into early December still are) exceptionally mild (relative to average) in the northern Bering Sea, which has helped delay ice formation and keep the ice thin and mobile.
Comments from LEO Editors:
This observation has been sent to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence.
Changes in sea ice is one of several themes we have seen emerge from the observations submitted from the Bering Sea region. In January 2012, we heard about a late freeze up reported from Elim, a trend which continued in 2013 and led to dangerous ice conditions in Nome. Poor ice conditions during 2013 also delayed spring subsistence activity in Unalakleet and Shishmaref, and disrupted fall activities in Golovin. During the winter of 2014-2015, we continued to hear about late sea ice and poor ice condition from Wales and Shishmaref, with open water reported in December near Shishmaref. During January 2017, observers in Diomede reported sea ducks still in the open water. During January of 2018, Shishmaref residents used a drone to document open water near the coast. These observations, and more, can be found on this Bering Sea region map.