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Toxic Waters This week we are drawn back to a story from Eastern Russia. Surfers from Petropavlovsk noticed in late September a strange odor and yellowish tinge to the seawater and foam. They also reported symptoms including burning eyes, headache, fever, and sore throat after being in the water. Soon afterwards, the beaches were littered with the bodies of hundreds of octopuses, sea urchins, fish starfish, and crabs. This week more die-offs were reported in at last six other locations, south along the coast of Kamchatka and around the tip into the Sea of Okhotsk. The cause remains a mystery, but officials are looking into everything from algal blooms to toxic waste spills, and the Governor of Kamchatka has asked for international assistance in the investigation. We would like to say thank you to the local surfing community for raising awareness about this event. We wish Kamchatka officials well in uncovering the reason behind these toxic waters. Mike Brubaker, Editor

Severo-Kuril’sk, Sakhalin, Russia
Siberian Times / October 14, 2020

A mass die off of fish and invertebrates has been reported in the Sea of Okhotsk, west of Kamchatka. Dozens of surfers reported symptoms including including poor eyesight, fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, skin rashes and head and throat aches.

Read article on Siberian Times



Chumikan, Khabarovsk Krai, Russia
The Moscow Times / The Moscow Times / October 15, 2020

Residents of the coastal Chumikan village reported two adult whales and one baby on Wednesday afternoon, on a shore of the Uda River that flows into the sea. Alexei Paramonov spent hours protecting the pod from wild animals and poachers and saved the baby whale from hypothermia. 

Read article on The Moscow Times



Kugaaruk, Nunavut, Canada
Jane George / Nunatsiaq News / October 13, 2020

This past weekend a group of hunters on all-terrain vehicles found four dead bowhead whales lying on a beach about 60 kilometres north of the Nunavut community of Kugaaruk. Photos of the bowhead whales taken by Rene Kukkuvak, appear to have a torn tongues and rake-like gouges.

Read article on Nunatsiaq News



Gambell, Alaska, United States
RB Smith / The Nome Nugget / October 16, 2020

Residents across the Bering Strait have continued to report unusual amounts of foreign trash washing up on their beaches. After months of working on the models, NOAA has been able to pin the source of the debris as likely somewhere southwest of St. Lawrence Island in the Gulf of Anadyr.

Read article on The Nome Nugget



Fairbanks, Alaska, United States
Dan Bross / Alaska Public Media / October 4, 2020

The novel virus has only affected two people, both in Fairbanks. The "Alaskapox" was first identified in 2015 after a Fairbanks woman sought medical attention for a small skin lesion, pained fever and fatigue. In August, a second Fairbanks woman with no known connection to the first was found to have the virus. Scientists suspect both women may have gotten the virus from contact with small wild animals.

Read article on Alaska Public Media



Chistochina, Alaska, United States
Wilson Justin / LEO Network / September 30, 2020

"In a summer of continuous rainfall I would presume glorious growth and tons of picking...but this did not happen. The blueberries never took off, neither did the soap berries known to us as bear berries."

Read post on the LEO Network



Stykkishólmur, West, Iceland
Alexander Elliott / RÚV / October 15, 2020

2020 was the second most successful year on record for Iceland’s sea eagles. Currently there are 85 breeding pairs—mostly around the Breiðafjörður area. This year, there have been 51 eaglets from 60 nests.

Read article on RÚV



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. Thank you for reading our newsletter and for paying attention to our changing world.

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