Alaska Arctic Observatory & Knowledge Hub: Community-based observations of changes in the seasonal cycle in Alaska's Arctic


Whaling trails.

Local and AAOKH-supported data

Community-based coastal observations

Observers in Kaktovik, Wainwright, Point Lay, Point Hope, Kotzebue, Utqiaġvik, and Wales observe and record sea ice, weather, wildlife, and subsistence activities throughout the year, particularly in relation to the seasonal cycle.

Community observations are added to the Seasonal Ice Zone Observing Network (SIZONet) and Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) databases. Go to database

Spring 2017 whaling trails

Trails built by Utqiagvik whaling crews for the 2017 spring whaling season were mapped by Matthew Druckenmiller (National Snow and Ice Data Center) and Josh Jones (UAF Geophysical Institute) in late April 2017. Learn more about the whaling trails

Coastal water profile data for Prudhoe Bay, Utqiaġvik (Barrow), and Wainwright

Electronic instruments examine water properties to detect how conductivity and temperature of the water column change relative to depth. The instruments used by AAOKH observers also measure the concentration of chlorophyll in the water column. Learn more about CTD and get data

Other relevant data sources

Northern Alaska Sea Ice Project JukeBox

This project includes oral history recordings of residents of northern Alaska talking about sea ice conditions, observations over time, and changes that are occurring. Go to JukeBox

Sea ice extent

Produced by the National Ice Center and updated daily, this layer shows the sea ice edge and delineates the marginal ice zone from fast ice. Fast ice or shorefast ice is anchored to land and relatively stable. The marginal ice zone is the transition between fast ice and the open ocean. It can consist of drifting ice floes, or compact floes at the head of fast ice, but is subject to deformation from ocean processes. This portion of the ice cover is the most biologically diverse and is an essential habitat for marine mammals, fish, and birds.

Sea ice extent data come from the National Ice Center and Polar View.

Sentinel-1 SAR image

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image from Sentinel-1 satellite acquired on May 1, 2017. Go to SAR images

Utqiaġvik (Barrow) marine radar

*Currently not operational (2/8/19)* The marine radar is mounted on top of the 4-story bank building in downtown Utqiaġvik. It detects sea ice up to 6 miles offshore and acquires a new image every 5 minutes for near real-time results. Ice appears white in the image due to the radar signals reflecting off it. Ridges in the sea ice also appear as bright linear objects, but buildings, fences, and cars on the land can also return strong signals. Darker regions in the image can indicate open water, smooth ice, or shadows. Go to marine radar

Utqiaġvik (Barrow) sea ice webcam

Current view. Visit webcam website

Barrow Webcam

Sea ice extent.
Sea ice extent.
SAR imagery of Alaska's north coast.
SAR imagery of Alaska's north coast.
Marine radar.
Marine radar.