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Watching and Waiting - On April 8th, Paule Hjertaas was walking near the town of Kronau in southeastern Saskatchewan, when she came across an amazing scene, hundreds of dead birds spread across the landscape. As reported by CBC News: "At first we thought, perhaps they got poisoned, and as we kept looking we found more in the fields and in various other places," she said. "I was a bit taken aback ... it looked terrible." This was early evidence of a much larger avian flu outbreak in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The same scenario, however, has been playing out across the Lower 48 and southern Canada for months. Now farm and wildlife officials across the North are bracing and wondering if and when the H5N1 virus will arrive. In Alaska where there are only small scale poultry farms, the big concern is the spring migration and what the virus could do to wild bird populations. The risk for human health is low, but the virus has proven to be particularly lethal for wild and domestic birds. In the US, over 23 million birds have died or been culled in the past two months. Our feature article is an interview with Alaska State Veterinarian Bob Gerlach. Gerlach and others are asking residents to keep an eye out for unusual bird behavior: "if you do see a bird or duck or goose that’s acting abnormal, maybe it’s not moving away as you walk toward it, or it’s laying its head down or maybe twitching or trembling, then don’t approach it but contact either the local Fish and Game office or U.S. Fish and Wildlife, so that bird can be examined and we can see if there is a problem." On a different topic, please also see our featured LEO observation, from long time observer Wilson Justin. Wilson eloquently describes some of the subtle changes this spring to stream conditions in Chistochina. Thank you Wilson for sharing your knowledge. Mike Brubaker - Editor

Alaska, United States
Casey Grove / Alaska Public Media /

This strain does not seem to pose a serious risk to people but there's concern for backyard flocks and the wild birds that are a food source for many Alaskans.

Read article on Alaska Public Media



Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Dayne Patterson · / CBC / April 19, 2022

The flu now affecting birds in Saskatchewan is a severe strain of influenza that has mingled genes from Eurasia and North America, according to Dr. Trent Bollinger, a professor at Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) and a pathologist. Bollinger said that the severity of the disease, which he says is the H5N1 strain, depends on the species.

Read article on CBC



Chistochina, Alaska, United States
Wilson Justin / LEO Network / April 2, 2022

"Now I have seen the current muddy at break up but usually after prolonged warming and winds. This one is about a month ahead of the game."

Read post on the LEO Network



Hyvinge, Uusimaa, Finland
News / April 2, 2022

The last time Finland had this much sunshine in March was nearly a decade ago, in 2013. High pressure typically brings clear skies, and this was also the case last month in Finland.

Read article on News



Нешкан, Чукотский район, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia
Prochukotku / March 2, 2022

A man injured by a polar bear was transported by helicopter to the Chukotka regional hospital from the village of Neshkan. The incident happened near the village. The predator attacked a man near the carcass of a whale that died last fall, Chukotka news agency reports.

Read article on Prochukotku



Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland
RÚV / April 6, 2022

After some well-founded speculation a week ago, reported on in some media, the Met Office has now confirmed that this March was the wettest on record in Reykjavík--and the winter overall saw the most precipitation ever recorded in various locations around Iceland.

Read article on RÚV



Aviemore, Scotland, United Kingdom
BBC News /

The fire came at a time of heightened risk of wildfires in parts of Scotland due to dry weather and large areas of dead vegetation. Other incidents included fires on Ben Lomond in the Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, on Gruinard Island in Wester Ross and near Dornoch.

Read article on BBC News



Dillingham, Alaska, United States
Erin McKinstry / Alaska Public Media / April 27, 2021

Concerns around energy independence and high costs have led many places in rural Alaska to look for renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. The Department of Energy recently announced the awardees of a new program; the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project, or ETIPP, will help five Alaska towns explore projects from hybrid fishing vessels to reducing reliance on diesel.

Read article on Alaska Public Media



The Northern Climate Observer is published 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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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.

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