NOAA Fisheries came through and broke some very significant news not only for us here at Norton Sound, but for the entire Bering Sea and the world. The scientists couldn’t find the cold water curtain that usually separates the south Bering Sea from the northern Bering Sea. The science behind it is difficult and complex to understand. But what it comes down to is the following: warming waters not only make the glaciers melt, it also changes the chemical makeup of the ocean water. The natural world order before global temperatures went through the roof was a neat balance of ice, salt and cold water. Salt seeped out of the ice, creating what the researchers call a Thermal Curtain. That balance is now out of whack. The scientists scoured the Bering Sea to find the Thermal Curtain and they didn’t. Without that thermal barrier, the flood gates opened for fish species to come up north, bringing the entire food chain in disarray. We begin to connect the dots. Maybe that’s why we found dead sea birds on the beaches for the past few years in the summer time. Researchers who necropsied them told us that those birds were emaciated. Well, could it be because they don’t have their usual food sources available?
What we see unfolding before our eyes is the manifestation of predcitions by hundreds of scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They warned us about warming waters, the ever increasing storms, the disruption of food chains, the rising of ocean levels, the disruption of ocean currents and the change in polar air flows.
And what do we do?
Our president pulls the USA out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
It’s reckless enough that our leaders did not act decisively when there was still time to turn the ship around. Now we need to buckle up and figure out ways to adapt to drastic, massive changes. —D.H.—