Scattered patches of thin sea ice as seen from the shoreline on a wintry day in a rural Alaska village.

Western Alaska waters are warming, and with that comes changes in sea ice. Climate specialist Rick Thoman recently sat down with KNOM and filled us in on his observations of the region’s warming waters, which are resulting in a very late start to sea ice formation.

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While recovery efforts continue in Western Alaska from a historic September storm, the next weather event is expected to arrive today, Sept. 21, and tomorrow. But forecasters say this fall storm will be more typical and not nearly as alarming.

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As water levels receded Sunday, Sept. 18, residents in the Bering Strait region began taking stock of the damage done by the strongest fall storm to hit Western Alaska in fifty years. Sea berms were destroyed, homes were flooded or knocked off their foundations, and drinking water sources were contaminated.

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Nomeites were left scratching their heads this summer, as they — and a vast swath of the Norton Sound region — woke up to a town blanketed in smoke. But, there was no known fire anywhere even close. “It’s like you’re in a wood stove, that’s what this was like,” said climatologist Rick Thoman, who…

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