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Walrus radio-tracking in the southern Chukchi Sea 2011

Researchers attached satellite radio-tags on 40 Pacific walruses in the northern Chukchi Sea in mid-July and on 34 walruses on the coast of northwest Alaska in late August.  Russian colleagues will soon deploy additional tags on walruses on Russian shores of the Chukchi Sea. Tracking data from this study are intended to help describe walrus movements, foraging areas, and sea ice habitats in the Chukchi Sea and the Chukchi Sea oil lease sale planning area and to provide insights on walrus foraging and movements during ice minimum conditions in summer.

The animated map below depicts daily locations of tagged walruses and sea ice distribution. Radio deployment locations are shown with a red X, while daily walrus relocations are show with a yellow dot.  Sea ice distribution is based on near-real time passive microwave imagery collected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's advanced microwave scanning radiometer sensor flown aboard NASA's Aqua satellite and processed by the University of Bremen. Please note that this sensor data stream does not reliably detect sea ice with less than 15 percent coverage, is occasionally missing from some sectors of the Chukchi Sea, and unfortunately is not available after 4 October 2011 due to a mechanical failure after a service life that exceeded 3 times it's design life (http://nsidc.org/data/amsre/news.html) . From 5 October 2011 sea ice images are based on the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder data provided through the National Snow and Ice Data Center (http://nsidc.org/data/docs/daac/nsidc0081_ssmi_nrt_seaice.gd.html).

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