Poster Ocean

The Ocean is Our Grocery Store & It's Changing in Ways We've Never Seen

The Bering Sea/Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea form one of the richest, most pristine and biologically productive ocean systems on the planet. The same unique characteristics that support this area’s productivity – particularly the annual variations in sea ice – make this region especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Changing Sea Ice/Changing Ecosystems: “We’re seeing changing boundary lines; humpbacks, sea lions, other species are moving north.” (Kotxebue)

Changing Sea Ice/Changing Ecosystems: “We’re seeing changing boundary lines; humpbacks, sea lions, other species are moving north.” (Kotxebue)

How is Climate Changing Impacting Marine Ecosystems? And How Might We Respond?

Three Examples:

New Paths for Whales & Marine Shipping?

Challenges &  Emerging Strategies: Climate change is altering whale migration timing and pushing migration routes farther from shore, disrupting vital subsistence traditions and forcing hunters to travel farther into hazardous seas.  Growing vessel traffic requires establishing rules for shipping routes and vessel noise, and creating capacity for local oil spill response.

Walrus, Eiders & Melting Sea Ice

Challenges &  Emerging Strategies:  Arctic wildlife and people have evolved sophisticated ways of living based on sea ice.  Lose the ice, and lose the platform that walrus, seals and eiders use to hunt, rest, or raise their young.  And local people lose both safe places to hunt and cultural traditions based on subsistence life. Response strategies include managing new onshore walrus haulouts, and devising tools so hunters have real-time sea ice information.

Salmon, Cod, Pollock in a Changing Ocean

Challenges &  Emerging Strategies: Climate change impacts will modify and likely decrease key fish species, affecting everything from subsistence to jobs and government tax revenues. Needed responses include better environmental monitoring and a new generation of regulations dynamic enough to keep up with a changing climate.

Complex Ecosystem Building Blocks are Vulnerable to Climate Change

The abundant life in the Bering Sea region emerges from a complex web of physical, chemical and biological building blocks. Climate change is altering the structure of this system. This in turn could dramatically change what the ecosystem provides, including subsistence food on the table and the basis for this region’s robust commercial fishing industry.

This project was a collaborative effort of many partners, led by Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc and the Aleutian Bering Sea Islands and Western AK Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, working with Agnew::Beck Inc. and the U. of Washington Center for Environmental Visualization. Funding was provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. To get involved, citations or more information, see AdaptAlaska.org. Thanks to the over  200 people who contributed to these posters!         Sept 2017

VISUALIZE CHANGE

Changes in Alaska's Oceans