By JR on Saturday, August 20, 2011
There's tens of thousands of them in just one location and plenty of food for them but some of them might stampede! The Horror!
Maybe parts of the Arctic have melted but if so it COULD NOT be the result of global warming. Why? Because even the Warmists now concede that there has been NO global warming for the last 10 years or so. So any changes in Arctic ice MUST be due to natural local factors such as changing winds and ocean currents
Tens of thousands of walruses have come ashore in north-west Alaska because the sea ice they normally rest on has melted. US government scientists say this massive move to shore by walruses is unusual in the United States. But it has happened at least twice before, in 2007 and 2009. In those years Arctic sea ice also was at or near record low levels.
The walruses "stretch out for one mile [1.6 kilometres] or more. This is just packed shoulder-to-shoulder," US Geological Survey biologist Anthony Fischbach said in a telephone interview from Alaska. He estimated their number at tens of thousands. Scientists with two federal agencies are most concerned about the 900-kilogram female walruses stampeding and crushing each other and their smaller calves near Point Lay, Alaska, on the Chukchi Sea.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to change airplane flight patterns to avoid spooking the animals. Officials have also asked locals to be judicious about hunting, said agency spokesman Bruce Woods.
The federal government is in a year-long process to determine if walruses should be put on the endangered species list.
Fischbach said scientists don't know how long the walrus camp-out will last, but there should be enough food for all of them.
During normal summers, the males go off to play in the Bering Sea, while the females raise their young in the Chukchi. The females rest on sea ice and dive from it to the sea floor for clams and worms. "When they no longer have a place to rest, they need to go some place and it's a long commute," Fischbach said. "This is directly related to the lack of sea ice."
Loss of sea ice in the Chukchi this summer in the northern hemisphere has surprised scientists because last winter lots of old established sea ice floated into the region, said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre. But that has disappeared. Although last year was a slight improvement over previous years, Serreze says there has been a long-term decline that he blames on global warming. "We'll likely see more summers like this," he said. "There is no sign of Arctic recovery."