• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 10s

Episode 84: Revisiting life without ice

By KTVA Alaska 6:14 PM December 4, 2016

This spring, climate change researchers said we could reach a tipping point in Alaska weather. This was after the winter of 2015, one of the warmest in Alaska in at least a century. Not long afterwards, we saw a record warm spring and summer.

When Frontiers was in Barrow in late October to cover the U.S. Senate debate, there was no shore ice. Waves pounded the beach as they had all summer.

Everyone was beginning to wonder if 2016 would indeed set a new record for warm weather.

I checked with Rick Thoman, one of the leading climate change researchers in Alaska. He’s headquartered at the National Weather Service Alaska Region office in Fairbanks.

Thoman said he’ll know more next week after November numbers are processed, “But 2016 is indeed on track to be the warmest year of record for Alaska as a whole.”

He said November was an above-normal month for temperatures and it would take a prolonged period of unprecedented cold in December to take 2016 out of the top.

As we look back on this past year, we thought it would be a good time to rebroadcast a show we aired on May 15, that looked at how shrinking sea ice had set a warming trend in motion.

Some of the highlights of the May 15 show:

  • A visit to the Bering Sea community of Unalakleet, where the lack of snow and sea ice has interfered with seal and caribou hunting. KTVA photojournalist John Thain goes out on a seal hunt with tribal president Jacob Ivanoff.
  • We also take you to the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where experts on climate change explain why we’ve seen such rapid warming this winter and spring.
  • Our guests this week are Michael Brubaker, director of community environment and safety with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and Larry Merculieff, president of the Global Center for Indigenous Leaders and Lifeways. From the unusual appearance of frogs and strange bugs, they give an overview of statewide impacts of warmer weather.

Given the incoming presidential administration’s position on climate change, the debate will surely not go away.

Next year on Frontiers, we hope to check in with other scientists and tribal climate observers to see where things stand.

Latest Stories

  • News

    APD finds missing adult with medical issues

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 24, 16:08

    Anchorage Police say they have found the missing 41-year-old adult male with medical issues. According to a Nixle alert, Randall Wayne Anderson was been missing for approximately ten days. Police say there is a concern for his well-being because he has the mentality of a 12-year-old and has medical issues that require medication. The Nixle alert was sent […]

  • News

    Anchorage Police search for runaway girls

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 24, 15:24

      APD is asking for the public’s help in locating two girls who haven’t been seen or heard from since they left their home sometime after 10 p.m. Sunday. According to a Nixle alert, 16-year-old Shyell Green and 8-year-old Shayahna Lorance were last seen leaving the 800 block of E. 75th Court. Police say Shyell is […]

  • News

    How 2 bodies in Swiss glacier stayed mummified for 75 years

    by CBS News on Jul 24, 14:58

    Last week, during a routine inspection tour, a ski-lift technician for the Swiss adventure resort Glacier 3000 found what he thought was a collection of black rocks near the Tsanfleuron glacier in the western Bernese Alps, reported The New York Times. Upon close inspection, though, he discovered that the rocks were, in fact, mummified bodies. DNA […]

  • Lifestyle

    Major twist in legal battle over Charlie Gard, critically ill U.K. baby

    by CBS News on Jul 24, 10:46

    LONDON — The parents of Charlie Gard, whose battle to get their critically ill baby experimental treatment stirred international sympathy and controversy, dropped their legal effort Monday, saying tearfully that it was time to let their son die. At an emotional court hearing, a lawyer for the baby’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, said […]

  • Politics

    Trump son-in-law speaks after meeting investigators

    by CBS News on Jul 24, 10:34

    WASHINGTON — Senior White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, standing before cameras at the White House called his service there the “honor and privilege of a lifetime” and said he comes to work every day with “enthusiasm” for what can be. He reiterated part of a statement released earlier Monday, telling reporters that […]

  • Alaska Native poet Joan Naviyuk Kane to visit Santa Fe

    by Associated Press on Jul 24, 9:54

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Alaska Native poet Joan Naviyuk (nah-VEE’-YUK’) Kane is coming to Santa Fe to give a public reading. Kane is scheduled to read from her work on Tuesday at the Institute of American Indian Arts as part of the school’s “Summer Readers Gathering.” The Inupiaq poet will be joined by poet […]

  • Troopers: Man points gun at girlfriend after denied proposal

    by Associated Press on Jul 24, 9:47

    FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – Alaska State Troopers say a man who is accused of pointing a loaded gun at his girlfriend last week after she rejected his marriage proposal has been charged with felony assault. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the man’s girlfriend of three years told troopers he became enraged when she turned […]

  • News

    Alaska family files suit for wrongful death of man in jail

    by Associated Press on Jul 24, 9:39

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The family of an Alaska man who died while in custody at a jail in Juneau has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state and staff responsible for his care. KTOO-FM reports the family’s suit claims 49-year-old Joseph Murphy was intoxicated in August 2015 and sought treatment for depression and […]