Bering Sea Ecosystem
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Sounds of the Ice

The ice was different today. The ship spent the night heading north, back to the area where we were about two weeks ago. The last few times we were supposed to stop at the ice, there wasn’t a big enough piece for everyone who does work on the ice to get off the ship. Now that we’re back in the north, today a larger group of scientists was able to work on the ice.

Ned Cokelet, an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, measures the ice itself as a member of the hydrography team. “Today the ice was much warmer,” he says. “The ice was just slightly colder than the freezing temperature of water.” He searches for a word to describe the condition of the ice today and comes up with “saturated,” then “waterlogged.”

The Bering Sea has sea ice only in winter. Unlike in the Arctic Ocean, where some ice lasts through the summer and there are areas where multi-year ice can stop an icebreaker like Healy in its tracks, the Bering Sea’s ice melts completely every summer. So now, on May 1st, it looks like the spring may be on the way. “The end is in sight, I think,” says Cokelet. “The only way it could turn around is if it gets much colder...I think that’s unlikely.”

Today's update includes sound files for each photo. You may need to adjust the volume for each one. These sounds are also available in our Video and Sounds section. Enjoy!

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