January 28th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in AK NEWS
Arctic Kingdom's comfortable dome camp accommodations.
Theo Ikummaq, one of our Inuit guides
Photographer Louise Murray's incredible capture of sunset at Fox Basin
January 27th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Current Events, IN THE NEWS
A recent scientific study has ruled out fears that global warming will affect the Greenland ice sheet to the point of melting entirely. Were this to occur, sea levels would rise by a dangerous seven meters - affecting highly populated coastal cities around the world. The Greenland ice sheet is up to 1,000 meters thick in places and is based over land rather than over ocean water.
The GuardianUK writes -
"The Greenland ice sheet is safer than we thought," said Professor Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds, who led the research published tomorrow in Nature.
Shepherd's team used satellite imagery to track the progress of the west Greenland ice sheet as it slipped towards the sea each summer, over five years.
Researchers had feared that more melting from the surface of the ice in hotter years would in turn provide more meltwater for a slippery film at the sheet's base. More melting would mean more slippage and a greater rise in the sea level.
But they discovered that, above a certain threshold, the slipping began to slow. On-the-ground studies and work done on alpine glaciers suggest that higher volumes of meltwater form distinct channels under the ice, draining the water more efficiently and reducing the formation of a lubricating film.
While this is heartening news, global warming is still an ongoing concern.
He said the next scientific question to answer was whether warmer oceans would erode the edges of ice caps, causing them to fall rapidly into the ocean. "The real threat now is from the oceans melting the west Antarctic ice sheet, which is 3km-4km thick, of which 1km-2km is below sea level."
Shepherd said his work was helping to reduce uncertainties about the consequences of climate change. Asked if he thought his work suggested the wider risks of global warming could be discounted, he said: "Not at all."
January 26th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in IN THE NEWS
In a unique opportunity for science (the science of whiskey at least), several bottles of whiskey left over from famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's antarctic exploration have been returned to Scotland. It is believed that the whiskey was bottled in 1896 or 1897, making it among the oldest in the world.
The bottles of Mackinlay's were part of a cache recovered last year from beneath Shackleton's Antarctic hut, built in 1908 as part of his failed attempt to reach the South Pole.
They made it home Monday to Whyte and Mackay, the brand's owner, for analysis to see how they have fared after so long preserved in the polar chill.
The wooden crate containing the whisky, marked British Antarctic Expedition 1907, was frozen solid in the minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures but the whisky in the bottles was still liquid.
How does this benefit science?
Richard Paterson, Whyte and Mackay's master blender, said the analysis would be "for the benefit of the whisky industry".
"Never in the history of our industry have we had a century-old bottle of whisky stored in a natural fridge and subjected to some of the harshest conditions on this planet," he said.
"It is an absolute honour to be able to use my experience to analyse this amazing spirit."
For the next six weeks, the whisky will be analysed, nosed, and tasted in full laboratory conditions.
Ok, so perhaps it doesn't benefit hard science. Neither does drinking 100,00 glacier water
, but wouldn't you take a sip if you had the opportunity? It seems that a career in science can come with surprising perks, depending on your area of research.
January 21st, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Arctic History, IN THE NEWS
Inuit man with a kayak, Photographed by Captain Edward Augustus Inglefield, 1854
Group portrait of Inuit boys, Photographed by Captain Edward Augustus Inglefield, 1854
Winter quarters of the 'Alert'; Cape Rawson in the distance; Mr White and ‘Nelly' , Photographed by George White; Thomas Mitchell, 1875-76
The National Maritime Museum
has shared an astounding set of early arctic photographs
from their collection on Flickr. Titled 'Freeze Frame'
, these photographs are licensed under creative commons. Do take a bit of time to peruse the whole set, some of these images are mind blowing.
'Endurance' in the ice Photographed by James Francis Hurley, 1915. Materials: Gelatine dry plate, From the Henley Collection
Interested in a trip
? Check out our webinar archive
for firsthand information on some of our unique adventures. You can also peruse more photography in our inspiration gallery
for some modern (but no less stunning) images of the arctic.
January 19th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Current Events, IN THE NEWS
Historians will be looking for Arctic weather data in the logbooks of whaling ships, British Navy vessels and Hudson Bay Company ships from the 18th and 19th centuries, said Dennis Wheeler, a researcher with the University of Sunderland.
"It's not until you begin to look at these documents that you can really get an appreciation of exactly how much information there actually is," Wheeler told CBC News.
This would be a daunting but fascinating project to work on. Imagine the thrill of opening and poring over log books from renowned early arctic explorations! I always picture the London library containing documents such as these as a dusty treasure-trove, although the reality is likely far more clinical and sterile.
"The only way we know about climate change or environmental change anyway is by knowing the past temperatures, what the past environment was like," said Alan MacEachern, a historian and director of the Network in Canadian History and Environment.
January 18th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Mechanized Vehicles
Air boats in use in the high Arctic for transporting freight and search and rescue operations. The airboats can be used effectively during the breakup when ice is to unstable for snowmobiles and it is too early to use boats.
While we're particularly fond of using our airboat
or a zodiac
to traverse stretches of open water, other people have come up with some creative alternatives to traverse watery terrain.
Scope this video, filmed on Georgian Bay in Ontario, of snowmobiles crossing huge areas of water -
This second video gives whole new meaning to the term 'going offroad'.
January 14th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Webinar
Amongst the towering fiord walls of south Baffin Island, touch the last of the great continental ice cap - the Penny Ice Cap Glacier, see polar bears and the majestic bowhead whales
Join Arctic Kingdom Expedition Director Thomas Lennartz for a virtual tour of this breath-taking land of icebergs, fiords and wildlife of Qikiqtarjuaq on one of our newest trip destinations
On this webinar:
LEARN - About this coastal. small cruiser boat-based trip that departs in July and Aug 2011 that hugs the Arctic circle. What makes this summer Arctic trip so special and unique and what photograph opportunities you can have with the wildlife up close
SEE - stunning pictures of glaciers, polar bears and get a first hand account from AK Expedition Leader - Kristyn Thoburn
FIND - out what typical week activities at this pristine Arctic destination
For related trip details visit:
Polar Bears, Bowhead Whales and Glaciers of Baffin Island
January 14th, 2011 | By Jason Hillier | Filed in Current Events, IN THE NEWS
Here's a fun thing to spend some time with, WWF Canada
has posted a site tracking the movements
of three polar bears as they head onto the ice of Hudson Bay. They also provide some information on the bears and the distance they've traveled so far. All three are female with two cubs accompanying them, but their ages and sizes vary.