Bering Sea changes startle scientists, worry residents

    A satellite image of the Bering Strait.

    Anchorage, Alaska (AP) - Scientists who study the northern Bering Sea say they're seeing changed ocean conditions that were projected by climate models — but not until 2050.

    The rapid changes are leading researchers to wonder if ecosystems near the Bering Strait are undergoing a transformation.

    The Bering Sea saw record-low sea ice last winter. Oceanographer Phyllis Stabeno says it's too early to attribute the changes to climate change and she expected a bounce-back this winter.

    Instead, warm February winds cleared most of the Bering Sea of ice.

    University of Alaska Fairbanks physical oceanographer Seth Danielson says the changes are triggering biological effects.

    Commercially valuable fish such as walleye pollock and Pacific cod moved farther north last year. Seabird experts say a seabird die-off that occurred may be tied to changing ocean conditions.

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