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The Harbinger - After a solid month of rain in Southeast Alaska, the drought classification was revised from "severe" to "moderate.” It had been severe since last fall, a shocking turn of events for our beautiful temperate rain forests. The implications extended far beyond the forest canopy to salmon streams, water reservoirs, and power plants. There have been other harbingers in recent years: winter rain, dwindling snow pack, spiking algal toxins, stranded birds, and salmon dying before they could spawn are just a few examples. With each unusual event we are tempted to classify them as "one offs" or rare occurrences. But today, reoccurance along with increasing severity seem to be the rule. This summer, a handful of villages from Klawock to Chignik Lagoon experienced water shortages. The scale of drought was unprecedented, but it was not the first time, not the first signal. There have been water shortages before in southern Alaska, and drought is becoming more common around the circumpolar north. In this edition, you can read about Metlakatla and their proactive response to address new environmental realities. As we reflect on our own water security, we may also consider the risks of relying too heavily upon past conventions when gauging the likelihood that events repeat in the future. Mike Brubaker, Editor

Metlakatla, Alaska, United States
Elizabeth Jenkins / Alaska Public Media / November 21, 2019

Following a season of drought, the Southeast Alaska community of Metlakatla is navigating a different relationship with water, like a number of other places in the region.

Read article on Alaska Public Media



Chukchi Sea
CBC / November 19, 2019

Open water has become the November norm in the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska. Instead of thick, years-old ice, researchers are studying waves and how they may pummel the northern Alaska coastline.

Read article on CBC



Utqiaġvik, Alaska, United States
Shady Grove Oliver / Arctic Sounder / November 19, 2019

It's been a challenging year for whalers in Utqiagvik. Crews started going out in September, but found the bowheads weren't appearing in their usual concentrations in the waters closer to shore. On the water Nov. 16 Panigiuq Crew landed the first whale of the season for Utqiagvik, later than many people can remember ever bringing one in before.

Read article on Arctic Sounder



Utqiaġvik, Alaska, United States
Rachel D'Oro, Associated Press / Anchorage Daily News / November 25, 2019

A growing number of Arctic underground cellars are being rendered unreliable as global warming and other modern factors force changes to an ancient way of life.

Read article on Anchorage Daily News



Northern Bering Sea
Alaska Public Media / November 15, 2019

NOAA Fisheries' summer trawl survey shows Norton Sound red king crab are moving, Arctic cod numbers have dropped significantly, and Pacific cod are continuing to increase as the Northern Bering Sea ecosystem undergoes drastic change.

Read article on Alaska Public Media



Herbert Inlet, British Columbia, Canada
Adam Chan / CTV News / November 20, 2019

Blooms are often associated with low dissolved oxygen events and warm ocean water temperatures and weather changes – all of which we are, or have been, experiencing," said Kiemele. Farm owner Cermaq says it has deployed fish protection countermeasures that have already caused conditions to improve.

Read article on CTV News



Umeå, Västerbotten, Sweden
Sveriges Radio / Radio Sweden / November 22, 2019

Fredrik Dahlborg, manager of bus manufacturer VDL, told P4 Västerbotten that a combination of the weather and road salt is the problem. Despite this, Umeå municipality say they will keep using the electric buses.

Read article on Radio Sweden



Nur-Sulta, Kazakhstan
Yelena Levkovich / The Astana Times / November 18, 2019

A severe and sudden snow storm caused traffic jams and road accidents. From Nov. 11 to Nov. 13 alone, more than 230 crashes occurred on the roads of Nur-Sultan, according to the city’s police department. Five people were injured in the accidents.

Read article on The Astana Times



The Northern Climate Observer is published weekly by the Center for Climate and Health. We track news coverage from across the circumpolar north and provide readers with a curated roundup of climate change related events. Thank you for reading our newsletter and for paying attention to our changing world.

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