September 2009 - Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions

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BLOG: Archive for September, 2009

Avataq Cultural Institute Preserves Nunavik Culture

September 30th, 2009 | By | Filed in Arctic History, IN THE NEWS, INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art, Uncategorized

Inside a brick building in downtown Montreal, Nunavik's Avataq Cultural Institute is working to preserve the culture of Quebec's far north. The Avataq Cultural Institute's new Montreal facility features climate-controlled storage, an indoor parking garage (so that artifacts in transit are shielded from the sun), and on-site security, all working to preserve Nunavik's cultural heritage.

A polar bear sculpture by Kangiqsualujjuaq artist Willie George Etok

And, while it may seem odd to keep these precious bits of the Nunavik’s past in Montreal, a secure, climate-controlled facility like this one would be too expensive to build and maintain in the North, Avataq curator Louis Gagnon said. But Avataq’s intent isn’t to bring materials down from the North unless they need special conservation, he said. Avataq simply wants to preserve its existing collection in a safe place. From there, items can travel to institutions for exhibition, researchers can come in to consult materials, and — above all — Avataq’s collection will remain in good condition for many generations, he said. “We don’t want to repatriate more items to the South— just the opposite,” said Gagnon, who hopes Avataq’s collection may some day be displayed in museum exhibitions in Nunavik , perhaps at the multi-purpose museum facility that people in Puvirnituq want to build. Avataq’s art collection now contains about 1,400 works of art and other cultural objects, handed back to Avataq from the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs in the 1980s and then put into storage.
via NunatsiaqOnline 2009-09-22. Most items in the collection have been photographed and can be viewed online at the museum's website, with 360-degree views of many 3-dimensional artifacts.

Dogsledding: Then and Now

September 25th, 2009 | By | Filed in Arctic History, Inuit Culture/Art

I was poking around over on Flickr when I ran across a great set of vintage images of the north from ookami_dou.

Makkovik / Dog Sled (ca. 1900), by ookami_dou

One of the things I love about this and the other images in the set is how little has changed. These dogs and the komatik behind them could have been snapped on an expedition last year. Or, say, 2006.

Arctic Kingdom Expedition to Qaanaaq, Greenland April 2006.

Check out the expressions on the dog's faces -- particularly the dog at the bottom left of the top image, and the dog to the far right in the photo on the bottom. Identical stares, across the centuries.

Sea Ice at an 800-Year Low

September 25th, 2009 | By | Filed in Current Events, Global Warming, IN THE NEWS, SCIENCE

New research, conducted by the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and published in the scientific journal Climate Dynamics, maintains that the sea ice in the Arctic sea between Greenland and Svalbard has reached the smallest size it has been in 800 years. The research combined information about the climate found in ice cores from an ice cap on Svalbard and from the annual growth rings of trees in Finland. The data about the ice cover was gathered from the logbooks of whaling- and fishingships datign back to the 16th century as well as from records from harbours in Iceland, where the sea ice coverage has been recorded since the end of the 18th century. By combining these two sets of information the reserachers were able to track the sea ice all the way back to the 13th century. The sea ice has been at the minimum also before, first in the late 13th century and later in the mid 17th and mid 18th century. The researchers maintain, however, that these periods were in no case as persistent as the decline of the sea ice in the 20th century when the ice diminished 300 000 square km in ten years. The sea ice has been at its largest from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, during a period called the Little Ice Age.
via The least sea ice in 800 years | Arctic Portal.

Canada Goose End of Season Blow Out!!

September 25th, 2009 | By | Filed in Gear

Canada Goose Parka fans - pay attention - this is your lucky day! Arctic Kingdom's annual End of Season Blow Out has started! For those of you who don't know, every year, we purchase brand new Canada Goose Expedition Parkas for our adventurers to wear on our arctic expeditions. They are worn for approximately four weeks, drycleaned, and are now ready to sell, good as new. We also have a number of BRAND NEW parkas and pants for sale as well. Some of the models we are have are the Expedition, Expedition Vostok, Snow Mantra, Baffin Anorak, Nomad Storm Jacket, Nomad Storm Pants, and Wilderdown Pants. Check out what we have for sale here: Or email me at [email protected] for more information. Don't miss this one of a kind opportunity to gear up for winter for a fraction of the cost!

Great Deals on Winter Gear

September 23rd, 2009 | By | Filed in AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Gear

Dont they look warm?

Don't they look warm?

As our summer season winds to a close, we're cleaning out our expedition closets. And that means that, as all of you in the Northern Hemisphere gear up for winter, we've got some great deals on new parkas and snow pants, as well as some even better deals on gear that has survived a summer of use in the Arctic. All of our used gear is clean, in good repair, and thoroughly field tested. Check out our Special Offers page, and take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts!

Climate Change is Already Transforming the Arctic

September 22nd, 2009 | By | Filed in Arctic Animals, Conservation, Current Events, Global Warming, IN THE NEWS, SCIENCE

Seals are among the species threatened by warming oceans

Seals are among the species threatened by warming oceans

One of the things I get asked most often when I tell people about writing for Arctic Kingdom is, "Is there any truth to this 'Global Warming' thing?" I like to see it as a sort of touching optimism. The news I read every day contains more and more bad news about melting glaciers, endangered animals, and changing weather patterns all over the world. The arctic we see on our expeditions is changing, with warmer summers, less ice, and rising sea temperatures. It would be nice if it were all a matter of opinion, but the evidence seems clear: the world's climate is being transformed. And the scientific community agrees. In a recent issue of the Journal Science, scientists around the globe reviewed evidence from the International Polar Year, concluding that climate change threatens species throughout the Arctic.
“It seems no matter where you look -- on the ground, in the air, or in the water -- we’re seeing signs of rapid change,” said biologist Eric Post of Penn State University. The report says that a warming of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 150 years has already caused dramatic consequences. It cautions that further changes resulting from the projected six-degree warming over the next century will be difficult to predict. Ivory gulls, ringed seals, polar bears and narwhals are examples of species with a small distribution and specialized habitats, leaving them vulnerable to being the first species to suffer from climate change.
via Earth Week:New Arctic Emerging From Climate Change.

Newsletter – September 2009

September 18th, 2009 | By | Filed in AK NEWS

newsletter-2009-coverThe  September 2009 Newsletter was just released. The direct link to the newsletter can be found here. Subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest news on upcoming expeditions, special deals, and reports from the field. It’s easy! Just enter your email address into the subscription box below. -- Thomas

Plant a Tree, Save a Polar Bear.

September 17th, 2009 | By | Filed in Uncategorized

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has struck up a partnership with Polar Bears International. As a means to combating global warming, they're encouraging residents of the state to plant a tree and reduce their combat footprint. According to Detroit Natural Resources Forester Paul Delong, a one inch sugar maple planted at home will reduce atmospheric carbon by 17 pounds a year. via Wis. DNR: Plant a tree, help a polar bear --

Washington Post Visits with Churchill's Polar Bears

September 16th, 2009 | By | Filed in Arctic Animals, IN THE NEWS

In keeping with this week's polar bear theme, here's an article on Churchill's polar bears from Sunday's Washington Post. I especially liked this description of a bear encounter.
.... off to the side, among the willows, my eye caught movement. I looked again. This was no optical illusion. A polar bear was ambling, ever so slowly, in our direction. It was moving as polar bears do: seemingly aimlessly, languorously, its head and neck occasionally swaying loosely and slowly from side to side. I put my camera to my eye, but even at the fullest extent of my telephoto lens, the bear was little more than a small white blob, barely large enough to occupy the very center of my picture frame. Whispering to myself, I urged it forward as it wandered toward us. But however relaxed a polar bear's stride may be, it can effortlessly eat a great deal of distance in a surprisingly short space of time, and by the time I had bundled up and slipped out onto the buggy's rear deck, the bear was no more than 30, 40 yards away, casually looking up at me as it advanced. Like a ghost, its approach was silent until, suddenly it was so close that its head and then just its snow-dappled muzzle filled my viewfinder. I lowered the camera and looked the animal in the eye as it looked up at me. Only now, with the bear perhaps two or three yards below my elevated position, did I finally hear an almost imperceptible noise: a soft crunch of snow beneath its massive paws. The bear paused and considered me. Then it huffed out a short breath and padded past the buggy and across the tundra, never looking back.
via Arctic Blast: A Canada Town Is Polar Bear Central - Want to see it for yourself? Visit our trips page for information about polar bear viewing opportunities throughout the Arctic.

More Arctic Films on the Radar: Im Einsatz für Eisbären

September 15th, 2009 | By | Filed in Arctic Animals, Conservation, Filmmakers, Films, Global Warming

YouTube Preview Image Maybe it's Knut's influence. Over the last few months, several German-language films about the plight of polar bears in the wild have hit both the television market and the big screen. The latest film to come across my radar is Im Einsatz fur Eisbaren, featuring the German actor Hannes Jaenicke. Jaenicke travels to the Canadian Arctic to investigate the threats, including climate change and hunting, facing polar bears in the wild.
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