Winter storm surge flooding is the latest indication that something's off-kilter around the Bering Strait, the gateway from the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Ocean. Rapid, profound changes tied to high atmospheric temperatures, a direct result of climate change, may be reordering the region's physical makeup. Ocean researchers are asking themselves if they're witnessing the transformation of an ecosystem.
The Bering Sea last winter saw record-low sea ice. Climate models predicted less ice, but not this soon, said Seth Danielson, a physical oceanographer at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
"The projections were saying we would've hit situations similar to what we saw last year, but not for another 40 or 50 years," Danielson said.
Formation of the cold pool is again in doubt. It could return in the future, but temperatures are trending upward with the rate of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. [Source]