An imminent thaw

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Phyllis Stabeno, a physical oceanographer at NOAA, told me: “Ice may be beautiful but it’s immensely dangerous. It’s nature. It’s powerful, and you have to treat it with respect. A lot of respect.”

Stabeno admits that ice shapes the physics and biology in the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia. It’s also hugely important to the people that live up there. Have a listen.

Special thanks to Deborah Mercy and Marilyn Sigman. The video “Faces of Climate Change” was produced by COSEE Alaska, the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, the Alaska Ocean Observing Service, and the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. Music from Cosy Sheridan.

Slideshow

Sea ice has a big impact on the biology and physics of the Bering Sea. These melt pools help regulate climate, for example.

Moorings are used to track the temperature and salinity of the water, the currents, how thick the ice is, and how much sunlight is getting through.

Slowly and steadily, the ice is melting.

Hajo Eicken from the University of Alaska Fairbanks studies how the ice both influences and responds to our climate.

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