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Barrow is located on the coast of the Chukchi Sea, 10 miles south of Point Barrow from which it takes its name. The name Barrow is derived from Sir John Barrow, 2nd Secretary of the British Admiralty. The area that includes the present village of Barrow is traditionally known as Ukpeagvik, 'place where snowy owls are hunted' (Utqiagvik is an alternate spelling). An arctic climate is present in Barrow with an average precipitation of 5 inches/year, including snowfall of approximately 20 inches. Temperatures range from -50 to 80 °F throughout the year, with an average temperature of 40 °F in the summer. Barrow also experiences 24 hour/day of day light during the summer for approximately 3 months. Conversely, 3 months of darkness occurs during the winter months. Barrow is the largest city on the North Slope with a population of 4,541 people, the majority of which are Iñupiat Eskimos.

Traditional marine mammal hunting and other subsistence practices remain an important aspect of local culture. Bowhead, gray, killer, and beluga whales migrate near Barrow in the spring and fall. The most important subsistence activity is the pursuit of bowhead whales. Barrow whalers pursue the bowhead during the spring and fall migrations. During the spring, the passing whales are hunted at sea ice openings called leads. During the fall, whaling is a shore-based activity. Generally, the spring whaling season produces the majority of the whales landed in Barrow each year. While the actual hunting of bowheads occurs for brief periods during the spring and fall, whaling involves preparations that take place throughout the entire year. AEWC Executive Director, Maggie Ahmaogak, and Barbara Bodenhorn provide explanations of year around whaling preparations and activities.

The Utqiagvik archaeological site consists of over 60 mounds representing prehistoric winter dwellings and associated archaeological features. A major archaeological excavation was conducted in Barrow from 1981-1983 that resulted in the investigation of many houses and associated features. Many house mounds are still visible in the village of Barrow today and some of the collection can be viewed at the I˝upiaq Heritage Center. A full report is available from the NSB-IHLC. Additional archaeological sites are located at the Nuwuk site and along the coast in the vicinity of Barrow.

A meteorological and magnetic research station was established near Barrow in 1881. In 1893, the Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Station was constructed. Barrow was also home to the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL). Barrow is currently the economic, transportation and administrative hub for the North Slope Borough and the Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corporation is the Barrow village corporation. Barrow has three schools: Ipalook Elementary School, Hopson Middle School, and Barrow High School.

Angier, John. 1980. Umealit: the Whale Hunters. Boston, MA: WGBH Boston.

Arctic Anthropology: The Frozen Family from the Utqiagvik Site, Barrow, Alaska: Papers from a Symposium. Barrow, AK: Commission on Iñupiat History, Language and Culture Commission

Blackman, Margaret B. 1989. Sadie Brower Neakok, an Iñupiaq Woman. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Bodenhorn, Barbara A. 1989. The Animals Come to Me, They Know I Share: Iñupiaq Kinship, Changing Economic Relations and Enduring World Views on Alaska's North Slope. Thesis (Ph. D.) - University of Cambridge.

Bodenhorn, Barbara A. 1988. Documenting Iñupiat Family Relationships in Changing Times. Report prepared for North Slope Borough Commission on Iñupiat History, Language and Culture Commission and Alaska Humanities Forum.

Brewster, Karen Nichols. 1998. An Umialik's Life : Conversations with Harry Brower Sr. Thesis (M.A.) - University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Brower, Charles D.; Farrelly, Philip J. ; Anson, Lyman. 1994 1942. Fifty Years Below Zero: A Lifetime of Adventure in the Far North. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska Press.

Burch, Ernest. S. 1998. The Iñupiaq Eskimo Nations of Northwest Alaska. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press.

Burkher, Pauline C. and Wallace Itta. 1989. Ten Legged Bear and Other Barrow Eskimo Stories. Anchorage: P.C. Burkher.

Ford, James Alfred. 1959. Eskimo Prehistory in the Vicinity of Point Barrow, Alaska. New York: Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, v. 47, pt. 1.

Hall, Edwin S.; Dekin, Albert A.; and Cassedy, Daniel F. 1990. The Utqiagvik Excavations. Barrow, AK: North Slope Borough Commission on Iñupiat History, Language and Culture.

Libbey, David. 1981. Utqiagvik Ethnohistory: A Report. Fairbanks, AK: Cooperative Park Studies Unit, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Murdoch, John. 1988 1892. Ethnological Results of the Point Barrow Expedition. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Sheehan G. W. 1997. In the Belly of the Whale: Trade and War in Eskimo Society: An Account of Politics, Ceremonialism, and Survival in Northern Alaska, AD 1200-1900. Aurora Monograph Series, Vol. 5.

Spencer, Robert F. 1959. The North Alaskan Eskimo a Study in Ecology and Society. Washington : U.S. G.P.O. Washington : U.S. G.P.O., Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology. Bulletin,171 .

Stanford, Dennis J. 1973. The Origins of Thule Culture. Albuquerque : University of New Mexico.

Stephen R. Braund & Associates with Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage. 1987. North Slope Subsistence Study: Barrow. Anchorage: The Region.

From the National Weather service
Barrow Climatology
Other charts depicting Barrow weather

Sea Ice:
Current Conditions
30 - Day Forecast
Sea Ice conditions for AK, images from the last 14 days
Sea ice map from NOAA
Sea Ice forecast models for AK - 1 through 6 day forecasts
Barrow sea ice camera

From AK Dept. of Community and Economic Development
I˝upiaq History Language & Culture (IHLC)
Inupiat Heritage Center
A history of Barrow from
Barrow Web Camera
Barrow High School
Hopson Middle School
Ipalook Elementary School
Barrow Arctic Science Consortium (BASC)
General Barrow information from UIC Construction