A marine mammal survey crew flying over the Beaufort Sea last month spotted surprise visitors – 13 killer whales.
Orcas have been seen before in the Arctic Ocean but are considered unusual that far north.
Their presence may be another indication of changes associated with climate warming but scientists say it’s too soon to draw conclusions.
Research biologist Paul Wade of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory says the orcas may have followed prey – gray whales – to northern waters.
The survey crew spotted the killer whales Aug. 20 just 6.2 miles northeast of Barrow, Alaska.
A second survey crew on board a research vessel spotted 25 to 30 orcas five days later northwest of Barrow in the Chukchi Sea.
- Mayor Ken Koelsch, Debbie White and Mary Becker opposed it. Deputy Mayor Jerry Nankervis was on a scratchy phone connection and did not respond to the roll call to vote.
- The proposal for a 130-unit high-rise apartment building to be built over a downtown city parking lot has alarmed some community members. But city officials say there is no final plan and closure of the deal is still months away.
- “Things have to have an endpoint to it, or they have to have something that keeps directing you, telling you that you’re in the right area,” said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.
- The Department of the Interior announced today that 29 local Alaska governments would receive $29.7 million in Payment in Lieu of Taxes funds, or PILT.