ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Arctic scientists say the Chukchi Sea two decades ago would have been teeming with ice by early November. At the moment, it’s mostly ice-free.    

The Chukchi Sea in recent years has seen sea ice appear later because of warmth stored in ocean water. As of last week, sea ice remained about 200 miles (322 kilometers) off shore.    

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University of Washington scientists onboard a research vessel are studying the changes and how less sea ice will affect coastlines, which already are vulnerable to erosion because increased waves delivered by storms.

More erosion would increase the chance of winter flooding in villages and danger to hunters in small boats.