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The River Cometh - On the heels of two extremely warm and dry summers, Northwest Alaska in 2021 has experienced one of the wettest. As climatologist Rick Thoman reports, a station at the confluence of the Kelly and Noatak Rivers received five inches of rain in June and more than six inches in July. That is three times the average! As I hear it the berry picking has been good, but the persistent high water has resulted in unprecedented bank erosion, and is now threatening critical infrastructure. LEO Network has received four erosion-related posts from Noatak, Alaska just since June 26th, with detailed observations and drone photos from Water Operator Paul Walton, and erosion measurements by Tribal Environmental Coordinator Jeffrey Luther. Jeffrey Luther reported in one of his posts that a cumulative of 18 feet of river bank was lost by July 16th, adjacent to the airfield! You can read the most recent post by Paul Walton about the erosion to the water transmission line and two wells which provide the only water source for the community. From the LEO Resilience Desk, please see the fascinating article and video about, Dash Systems, a company that is developing technology for dropping cargo from small aircraft using a propeller driven guidance system and parachutes. They call it a "land the package, not the plane" approach. In an era of COVID-driven travel restrictions this is the kind of innovation that could find many applications in remote northern communities. Mike Brubaker, Editor

Kotzebue, Alaska, United States
Wesley Early / KTOO / August 3, 2021

The record was driven in part by a heavy rainstorm that set Kotzebue's single-day precipitation record.

Read article on KTOO



Noatak, Alaska, United States
Paul Walton, Chris Dankmeyer, Max Neale and Richard L Thoman Jr / LEO Network / August 16, 2021

Community Water System at Risk: Extreme precipitation throughout the summer and sustained high water has resulted in erosion of the location for the water transmission line and Noatak's two water wells.

Read post on the LEO Network



Kotzebue, Alaska, United States
Wesley Early / Alaska Public Media / August 16, 2021

Locals in Kotzebue showed a mix of excitement and concern over the weekend in response to reports that a rare polar bear was spotted in the area.

Read article on Alaska Public Media



Olga Gertcyk / Siberian Times / August 6, 2021

Seven polar bears, including a wounded mother bear with two cubs, were scared away by rescuers after they got dangerously close to reindeer herders at several locations on the Yamal peninsula. There are concern over rising numbers of the Arctic’s largest predators leaving their natural habitat and coming closer to humans.

Read article on Siberian Times



Vestmannaeyjar, South, Iceland
RÚV / August 17, 2021

The heaviest puffling (baby puffin) ever recorded in Iceland was weighed by scientists in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago recently, and the director of the South Iceland Natural History Institute believes the puffin stock overall may never have been bigger than now. The news comes after many failed breeding seasons since 2000 and worries for the species’ future.

Read article on RÚV



Alaska, United States
Mary Auld / Alaska Public Media / August 16, 2021

When pilots stopped traveling to villages during the COVID-19 pandemic, people had to go without important supplies. Fresh food often spoils before it arrives. Immunizations expire before they can be delivered. Dash Systems describes it as a “land the package, not the plane” approach, and it aims to make next-day delivery available in remote areas.

Read article on Alaska Public Media



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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