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Where are the tomcods? Saffron cod are a small coastal fish with a dark back and silver belly. They are commonly found in shallow waters and tidal areas all around the North Pacific. In coastal Alaska, they are an important subsistence resource and favorite during fall and early winter ice fishing. To catch tomcod, you cut a hole through the ice, drop in your hook and "jig" the line up and down, or you can use a dip net. Tomcods are usually eaten raw or frozen and dipped in seal oil. In the village of Chevak the conditions in early November looked perfect for fishing, with cold temperatures and good ice. But as reported by Cynthia Paniyak, the tomcods were nowhere to be found. "Last year was slow too, but, this year is worse than that. Hooper Bay did not get any either." Upon publishing Chythia's observation, other posts from the Yukon and Kuskowkim followed - Chefornak on November 19th and then Kongiginak (see attached) on November 30th. A regional harvest failure, coming on the heels of the worst salmon season in history. According to Sea Grant Marine Advisory Agent, Gay Sheffield, the community findings may be aligning with NOAAs net tow survey data. An 88% decline was reported in the biomass of saffron cod from 2020 to 2021. So, where are the tomcods? It may fall upon local fishers like Cynthia Paniyak to answer this question. You can read these local fisher observations, and stories about environmental change in Canada, Russian and Norway. Special thank you to Vigdis Johnson for sharing the interesting articles from Norway. Mike Brubaker, Editor

Kongiganak, Alaska, United States
Tracy Lewis, Janelle Kinegak, Cynthia Paniyak and Gay Sheffield / LEO Network / November 30, 2021

The tomcod harvests in the Kongiganak, Cavuuneq and Ilkivik Rivers have been a failure. Also in other areas, based on observations from Chevak and Chefornak. Both the surface and bottom trawl results show a clear decline in tomcod biomass in the North Bering Sea.

Read post on the LEO Network



Nome, Alaska, United States
Davis Hovey / Alaska Public Media / November 22, 2021

Current sea ice extent in Northern Alaska waters is the highest it’s been since November 2001.

Read article on Alaska Public Media



Homer, Alaska, United States
Casey Grove / Alaska Public Media / November 23, 2021

It's cold. And those frigid temperatures aren't going away anytime soon. The cold has set in across most of Alaska and set daily record lows in places like Homer, King Salmon and Bethel. It's relatively early to be seeing such cold.

Read article on Alaska Public Media



Arkhangel’sk, Arkhangelskaya, Russia
Atle Staalesen / ArcticToday / November 24, 2021

Quickly accumulating sea ice along the Northern Sea Route is creating a potentially critical situation along Russia’s east Arctic coast. For several weeks, a number of ships have been trapped in thick sea ice. Several ships have also been waiting to sail into the area.

Read article on ArcticToday



Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
vancouversun / November 14, 2021

Since 7 a.m. on Monday, crews in Vancouver responded to reports of flooding in 46 locations. Average annual cost of property damage or losses due to severe weather has increased from about $400 million before 2009 to about $2 billion annually in the last few years.

Read article on vancouversun



Hedalen, Sør-Aurdal, Norway
Haakon Nesse Moreau, Mette Vollan, Even Lusæter, Marte Iren Noreng Trøen, Lars Erik Skrefsrud / NRK / November 19, 2021

Anders Berg Stensrud (30) faces an uncertain future. The losses after the storm blew down large forest areas could amount to several hundred million kroner.

Read article on NRK



Lillehammer, Oppland, Norway
Carter Brubaker / LEO Network / November 17, 2021

The first event in Lillehammer is in early December, and despite being able to easily prep the hills in the past, Lillehammer athletes must now rely on snow shipped from other parts of Norway.

Read post on the LEO Network



Heammogietti, Kautokeino, Troms og Finnmark fylke, Norway
NRK / NRK / November 8, 2021

25-30 reindeer drowned in the Kautokeino River today after a herd of reindeer passed through the ice. The accident happened when the herd of reindeer was crossing the fragile ice on the river. This is the third similar incident in the area in a couple of weeks. Yesterday, three reindeer went through the ice. They were all rescued alive. This article is also available in the Sami language at this link.

Read article on NRK



Oslofjord, Oslo, Norway
Lea Girolami Bråthen, Dag Aasdalen, Maren Nan Myrseth / NRK / November 18, 2021

Scientists now say that the harmful alga will survive the winter and that it will probably turn green in the Oslo fjord next year as well.

Read article on NRK



Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
Conlan Magel and Tom Okey / LEO Network / September 3, 2021

It is apparent that this area of coastline has experienced a sharp decline in its prawn populations. This may be due to increased fishing pressure from commercial prawn fishermen.

Read post on the LEO Network



Nome, Alaska, United States
Diana Haecker / The Nome Nugget / December 5, 2021

Back-to-back winter storms hit Nome and the region with very strong, screaming winds and accompanying blowing snow. While the first storm on Friday seemed just like a warm up, the second storm hit the region with very strong winds that knocked out power in Wales, ripped buildings apart in Golovin and brought water levels up 6.73 feet over normal.

Read article on The Nome Nugget



The Northern Climate Observer is published by the Center for Climate and Health. We track news coverage from across the circumpolar north and provide readers with a curated roundup of climate change related events. Thank you for reading our newsletter and for paying attention to our changing world.

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The Northern Climate Observer is published weekly by the Center for Climate and Health. We track news coverage from across the circumpolar north and provide readers with a curated roundup of climate change related events.

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