The water temperatures have been breaking records

Another thing global warming does: it cooks salmon to death before they can spawn.

Alaska has been in the throes of an unprecedented heat wave this summer, and the heat stress is killing salmon in large numbers.

Scientists have observed die-offs of several varieties of Alaskan salmon, including sockeye, chum and pink salmon.

Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, director of the Yukon Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, told CNN she took a group of scientists on an expedition along Alaska’s Koyokuk River at the end of July, after locals alerted her to salmon die-offs on the stream.

She and the other scientists counted 850 dead unspawned salmon on that expedition, although they estimated the total was likely four to 10 times larger.

They didn’t find any signs of parasites or infections; most of the salmon had eggs.

The water temperatures have [been] breaking records at the same time as the air temperatures, according to Sue Mauger, the science director for the Cook Inletkeeper.

Scientists have been tracking stream temperatures around the Cook Inlet, located south of Anchorage, since 2002. They’ve never recorded a temperature above 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Until now.

On July 7, a major salmon stream on the west side of the Cook Inlet registered 81.7 degrees.

Mauger and her team did a study three years ago making moderate and pessimistic projections for what climate change would do to temps in Alaska’s streams.

“2019 exceeded the value we expected for the worst-case scenario in 2069,” she said.

So half a century early it’s worse than they thought it could be.

Farther south, overfishing is threatening the salmon, which is why the orcas are dying.

And last week the Environmental Protection Agency¬†told staff scientists¬†it would no longer oppose a mining project in Alaska that had the potential to devastate one of the world’s most valuable wild salmon fisheries, just after President Trump met with Alaska’s Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

That’s ok, we’ll be fine eating copper.

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