Sea Ice? Not in 2019


Open water at Nome, Alaska; Photo credit: James Mason/Nome Nugget

The Iditarod Sled Dog Race had a new winner last Wednesday. As interesting as the race is to most Alaskans, the pictures from Nome and the Norton Sound area is what really caused a buzz.

There was no ice. Open water along the beach front of Nome in March is unheard of. “Unprecedented” the Nome Nugget called it.


Aily Zirkle mushing along the beach into Nome, Alaska. Zirkle finished fourth in the Iditarod. Open water of Norton Sound in the background

“You can take a boat from Dillingham to Diomede.” I’m not sure how I can stress how unusual that is. In March, the sea ice should be at its thickest, but Norton and Kotzebue Sound have open water. That would normally happen in June.


Map credit: NOAA

The map above shows how much warmer Alaska has been above average during the first half of March. As I type this out, Fairbanks is 20 degrees warmer than normal. The rest of March looks to stay the warm course.

About icefogger

Just a basic, down to Earth, laid back type of guy here, who loves the outdoors, the indoors, jazz on the turntable, a fire in the woodstove, the northern lights blazing across the sky, and the company of good friends. View all posts by icefogger

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