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Story Publication logo September 25, 2019

Warming Seas Wreak Havoc On The Bering Sea, Once A Productive Fishery

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The village of Savoonga, with a population of about 700, spreads along the shores of St. Lawrence Island in the northern Bering Sea, giving residents a ringside seat to the effects of climate change. Most residents are Siberian Yup’ik, a Native people who also live along the northeast Russia coast. Image by Steve Ringman. United States, 2019.
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Scientists once thought that an ice-free Bering Sea was decades into the future of a body of water —...

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Delbert Pungowiyi heads back from the cliffs, where he and other Savoonga villagers have seen fewer sea birds. He’s walking past the skeleton of a minke whale on a beach that once had much more sand. As winter sea ice has receded, open-water storms increase erosion. Image by Steve Ringman. United States, 2019.
Delbert Pungowiyi heads back from the cliffs, where he and other Savoonga villagers have seen fewer sea birds. He’s walking past the skeleton of a minke whale on a beach that once had much more sand. As winter sea ice has receded, open-water storms increase erosion. Image by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times. United States, 2019.

A new United Nations report says the pace of sea-level rise is accelerating as global warming melts ice around the world. The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also says marine heatwaves are becoming more common and more intense.

One place where the consequences of warming seas are already wreaking havoc on ecosystems and human livelihoods is the Bering Sea — the body of water between Russia and Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Hal Bernton (@hbernton), reporter for The Seattle Times, who has reported on drastic changes in the Bering Sea that have global implications.

This segment aired on September 25, 2019.

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