Thursday November 14, 2019
Home Environment Walruses Come...

Walruses Come to Shore Off Coast of Alaska in Their Earliest Appearance Since Sea Ice Substantially Recedes

This is the earliest date that large numbers of walruses have been confirmed on shore at Point Lay

0
//
Walruses, Alaska, Sea
FILE - An estimated 35,000 Pacific walruses are pictured hauled out on a beach near the village of Point Lay, Alaska, 700 miles northwest of Anchorage, in this Sept. 2014 handout photo. (NOAA/NMFS/AFSC/NMML). VOA

Thousands of Pacific walruses have come to shore off the northwest coast of Alaska in their earliest appearance since sea ice has substantially receded.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage received a report that several thousand walruses were gathered Tuesday on the barrier island off the coast of Point Lay, a Chukchi Sea village of 215 about 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, spokeswoman Andrea Medeiros said.

”This is the earliest date that large numbers of walruses have been confirmed on shore at Point Lay,” she said in an email response to questions, and the first time a herd has been seen as early as July.

Sea ice along northern Alaska disappeared far earlier than normal this spring as a result of exceptionally warm ocean temperatures.

Walruses, Alaska, Sea
Thousands of Pacific walruses have come to shore off the northwest coast of Alaska in their earliest appearance since sea ice has substantially receded. Pixabay

Since 1981, an area more than double the size of Texas — 610,000 square miles (1.58 million square kilometers) — has become unavailable to Arctic marine mammals by summer’s end, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Mature male walruses spent summers in the Bering Sea. Females and their young migrate north in spring, following the ice edge as it recedes into the Chukchi Sea.

Sea ice allows immature walruses to rest as their mothers dive over the shallow continental shelf to eat clams and snails. However, when ice recedes beyond the shelf over water more than 10,000 feet (3,050 meters) deep, walruses are forced to beaches to rest in Alaska and Russia.

Federal biologists have documented herds as large as 40,000 animals in recent years.

Also Read- Most Precise Map to Date of Milky Way Reveals Warped, Twisted Galaxy

Young walruses are vulnerable when gathered in herds. The animals lie shoulder to shoulder. If startled by a polar bear, airplane or hunter, the herd stampedes into the safety of the ocean and young animals are crushed.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has notified the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and barge companies and airlines serving Point Lay that walruses are in the area, Medeiros said. The federal Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits the “take” of walrus, which includes disturbance from human activity.

Sea ice usually melts to its summer minimum sometime in September.

The federal government in 2008 listed polar bears as a threatened species because of diminished sea ice brought on by climate warming. The Center for Biological Diversity that year petitioned to do the same for walruses.

Walruses, Alaska, Sea
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage received a report that several thousand walruses were gathered Tuesday on the barrier island off the coast of Point Lay. Pixabay

However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded in October 2017 that walruses are adapting and no one has proven that they need sea ice for birthing, nursing and feeding.

Also Read- Stardom Comes with a Price Tag, Says Actor Ayushmann Khurrana

The Center for Biological Diversity sued to reverse that decision and the lawsuit is pending before a U.S. District Court judge in Anchorage. (VOA)

Next Story

Rise in Sea Level to Affect 36 Million People in India by 2050

Climate Central produced the model using machine learning

0
Sea, India, Cities
The findings are based on a new digital elevation model called CoastalDEM which shows that many of the world's coastlines are far lower than has been generally known and that sea level rise could affect hundreds of millions of more people in the coming decades. Pixabay

A rise in the sea level may put some of India’s greatest cities, including Mumbai, in the flood-risk zone, affecting a total of 36 million people in the country by 2050 – about 31 million more than previously thought, warns a study.

Worldwide, rising sea levels could within three decades push chronic floods to affect 300 million people, according to research by the New Jersey-based science organisation Climate Central.

The researchers found that West Bengal and coastal Odisha are projected to be particularly vulnerable to floods by 2050, as is the city of Kolkata.

The findings are based on a new digital elevation model called CoastalDEM which shows that many of the world’s coastlines are far lower than has been generally known and that sea level rise could affect hundreds of millions of more people in the coming decades than previously understood. Climate Central produced the model using machine learning.

Sea, India, Cities
Worldwide, rising sea levels could within three decades push chronic floods to affect 300 million people, according to research by the New Jersey-based science organisation Climate Central. Pixabay

The threat is concentrated in coastal Asia and could have profound economic and political consequences within the lifetimes of people alive today, showed the findings of the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

As a result of heat-trapping pollution from human activities, rising sea levels could within three decades push chronic floods to affect 300 million people

China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand are home to the most people on land projected to be below average annual coastal flood levels by 2050.

Together, those six nations account for roughly 75 per cent of the 300 million people on land facing the same vulnerability at mid-century.

Also Read- Researchers Warn that Global Warming is Likely to Increase illness among individuals

Over the course of the twenty first century, global sea levels are projected to rise between about 2 and 7 feet, and possibly more.

“Based on sea level projections for 2050, land currently home to 300 million people will fall below the elevation of an average annual coastal flood. By 2100, land now home to 200 million people could sit permanently below the high tide line,” Climate Central said.

Adaptive measures such as construction of levees and other defences or relocation to higher ground could lessen these threats.

In the decades ahead, sea level rise could disrupt economies and trigger humanitarian crises around the world, said the study.

Sea, India, Cities
The researchers found that West Bengal and coastal Odisha are projected to be particularly vulnerable to floods by 2050, as is the city of Kolkata. Pixabay

Estimates of future economic losses from sea level rise vary depending on the amount of climate pollution and subsequent rise projected, as well as other factors, such as whether future population growth, innovation or migration are considered.

Also Read- New Tuberculosis Treatment for 150 Countries Including India and South Africa to Cost $1,040

Some projections indicate that flooding could cause tens of trillions of dollars in losses each year by the end of the century — or trillions per year, if extensive adaptation measures are implemented. (IANS)