April 2011 - Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions

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BLOG: Archive for April, 2011

Toronto’s Museum Of Inuit Art

April 30th, 2011 | By | Filed in Art, IN THE NEWS, INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art

I may need to plan a trip just to check out the Toronto Museum of Inuit Art. You can view a taste of their expansive collections online, and they've also posted an 'Introduction to Inuit Art' document on the website well worth investigating.
Introductory Guide to Inuit Art. The Guide offers a scholarly yet concise and accessible introduction to the history and range of Inuit art, as well as the museum and its collection. Useful in conjunction with a museum visit or simply on its own, the guide also features a list of major public collections in North America, a statistical look at Nunavut, an introduction to Inuktitut and syllabics, in addition to in-depth information about the Inuit co-operatives. Whether you are exploring Inuit art for the first time or are an avid enthusiast, MIA’s Introductory Guide has something for everyone.

Permanent collections area, photo via the Museum of Inuit Art website

Nunastaiq News Online has covered the museum as well, posting several photos of the design award-winning interior and has this to say about the space -
In the museum are more than 300 pieces of Inuit art spanning the last 1,000 years— and most of its collection is on loan. The older art, dating from the Thule period (1000 to 1850) is mostly unidentified work showing a traditional lifestyle. But, as you move through the museum’s sections, the art through the 1800s changes, influenced by the Inuit trade and contact with Western civilization. Most Torontonians — most southerners for that matter — don’t know much about Inuit art, Jane Schmidt (the museum’s assistant curator,) says. But once they see it, she adds, they’re hooked. “You get people who have been to the Arctic for a week and have been profoundly affected and impressed by it,” she says. “I think what the museum does it show the variety of work (from across the North.) “Whether they’re tourists or locals, they’re affected by the soul of it.”

Arctic Kingdom in Barrow and Inuvik for the 2nd Polar Circumnavigation

April 28th, 2011 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, SCIENCE, Scientists, TRIPS

Imagine seeing the Arctic from a bird's eye view, and flying thousands of feet in the air. Now picture yourself in a specially outfitted plane that is being used to record data that will help lower the uncertainty in future weather and climate predictions. This is exactly what those in the PAMARCMiP 2011 Campaign were doing in the month of April. 

Note: EM bird underneath, which is lowered close to the sea ice surface in order to measure ice thickness mid-flight.

 Arctic Kingdom recently returned from Barrow - Alaska and Inuvik - North West Territories, after assisting with the 2nd Polar Circumnavigation spearheaded by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI)! Arctic Kingdom was there to help with planning and managing the movement of personnel and freight, acquiring scientific permits for research conducted within Canada, and handling customs clearance in Canada and the US.  AWI partnered with Environment Canada, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, the European Space Agency, and other universities and institutions for the PAMARCMiP 2011 Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to get a better understanding of the physical processes in the inner Arctic. The campaign uses a specially outfitted Polar 5 airplane to obtain data on aerosol, trace gases, meteorological and atmospheric conditions, as well as sea ice thickness. This information is key in assessing the changes occurring in the polar region. This information will help to reduce uncertainties in future weather and climate forecasts. The flights started from Barrow, Alaska via Inuvik, Sachs Harbour, Resolute Bay, Eureka, Alert and Station North, and ends in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen.  For more information regarding the PAMARCMiP 2011 Campaign please visit their site.  If you would like to see more pictures from this expedition please visit our facebook page.

Salt Clouds May Relieve Some Arctic Warming

April 28th, 2011 | By | Filed in Global Warming, IN THE NEWS, SCIENCE

Science News has an intriguing story on the possibility of salt from sea spray entering the lower atmosphere and diffusing sunlight back, decreasing some of the warming.
The majority of sea-salt particles emitted into the air are well under a micrometer in diameter, notes climate scientist Hamish Struthers of Stockholm University. These tiny particles, known as aerosols, can persist in the air for days or even weeks, he says, and rise to altitudes of a kilometer or more. For the new study, he and his colleagues input into a computer program satellite measurements of seasonal changes in the Arctic albedo and surface measurements of a host of features including temperatures, ice cover and sea salt kicked up by waves on the ocean surface. As expected, the salt clouds can exert a subtle cooling of the Arctic, the team reports online April 13 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Struthers says his group’s new calculations indicate that “the size of this [salt] aerosol effect is most likely 10 percent or less of the albedo [warming] effect” due to sea-ice melting. The effect is small, he acknowledges, but not negligible. “Natural feedbacks in the climate system, such as the one described here, are potentially very important,” says Natalie Mahowald, an atmospheric scientist at Cornell University. “This is the first time I have seen this feedback mechanism discussed or quantified,” she says, making it “an interesting paper that describes a new mechanism for modulating climate in the Arctic region.”

‘The Magnetic North’ By Sara Wheeler

April 27th, 2011 | By | Filed in Art, IN THE NEWS

Slate.com is sharing several exclusive excerpts from a new book by Sara Wheeler titled The Magnetic North. The book shares the author's journey through the Arctic territories belonging to Russia, Finland, Denmark, Canada, and America. Sara's prose conveys an honest appreciation for the landscape and people she encounters as well as discussing the very real challenges faced in the Arctic today. This book has been well reviewed, and looks to be an interesting account of the uniqueness of Arctic travel. The Magnetic North is available on Amazon.com as well as in bookstores -
Smashing through the Arctic Ocean with the crew of a Russian icebreaker, shadowing the endless trans-Alaskan pipeline with a band of rowdy truckers, herding reindeer with the Lapps, and visiting the deceptive lands of the Gulag, Wheeler brings the Arctic’s many contradictions to life. The Magnetic North’s stunning descriptions and revelatory insights create a masterful portrait of a region growing daily in global importance.
From an excerpt on slate.com-
Fifteen years ago I spent some time in Antarctica. Its geographical unity and unownedness attracted the younger me, as did the lack of an indigenous human presence, and the inability to sustain terrestrial life. It was a metaphor for a terra incognita, an image of an alternate and better world. I was prejudiced against the complicated, life-infested North. Time passed, and in 2002 I traveled briefly with the Sámi, as Lapps are more properly known, and their reindeer. I started thinking about the collar of lands around the Arctic Ocean. Fragmentation, disputed ownership, indigenous populations immobilized on the threshold of change—those very things Antarctica lacked appealed to the older me. Especially fragmentation. When I thought about the Arctic, in my mind's eye I glimpsed an elegy for the uncertainties and doubts that are the chaperones of age. Was the Arctic a counterweight to the Antarctic? Or was it just a frozen mirror image, and I who had changed?
The Arctic is our neighbor, part of us. What could be less romantic? And the world seems a wearier place than it did a decade and a half ago. It is the Arctic that captures the spirit of the times. The Arctic is the lead player in the drama of climate change, and polar bears are its poster boys. So I went. On a speck of land in the northern reaches of the Arctic Ocean, the encircling water chaotic with floes, I heard a snow bunting sing. Not a single songbird breeds on the Antarctic continent. The sweet trill of the small black-and-white bird brought the Arctic to life.

Inuit Art Exhibition Shared Online

April 26th, 2011 | By | Filed in Art, IN THE NEWS, INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art

Old Qulliq Being Carried by a Woman, image via the Exhibit website, Winnipeg Art Gallery

The Winnipeg Art Gallery has created a beautiful website to share their recent exhibit 'Nunavik North of 60', featuring examples of Inuit sculpture and art created in communities located above the 60th parallel on the Ungava Peninsula in the region of Nunavik, Northern Quebec. Darlene Coward Wight, Curator of Inuit Art -
Carvers who originally lived in camps near Inukjuak and Puvirnituq were the first to create sculpture for export to southern markets in the early 1950s. This is now considered the beginning of “contemporary” Inuit art and the carving industry in the Canadian Arctic which was gradually expanded to other areas. That artistic expansion included the small, more northerly Nunavik communities of Salluit, Ivujivik, Kangirsuk, Kangiqsujuaq, and Akulivik. There are many treasures from these lesser-known communities in the WAG’s collection of Inuit art and this exhibition will be an opportunity to see works that are not exhibited as often as those from larger artistic centres such as Cape Dorset and Baker Lake. One of the best-known artists in the exhibition is Mattiusi Iyaituk (b. 1950) from Ivujivik, represented by the innovative sculpture Old Qulliq Carried by a Woman. Thomassie Kudluk from Kangirsuk (1910-1989) is well-known for his idiosyncratic carvings that communicate to the viewer through syllabic inscriptions. Makusikalla Qullialu (1930-1989) is not as well known, but his large sculpture, Caribou and Otter demonstrates his talent in this moving, anthropomorphic interpretation. The exhibition features sculptures dating from the mid-1950s to the early 2000s, by male and female carvers from all the small, northerly communities in Nunavik.

Researching Arctic Algae

April 24th, 2011 | By | Filed in IN THE NEWS, SCIENCE

Videos and blog entries are being posted online from team-members of the Catlin Arctic Survey, including this one by Dr. Oliver Wurl. He's researching the impact of of ocean acidification on the "forests of the oceans" -- phytoplankton (a form of algae), and explains his experiments in this video. It's worth spending some time on the official Catlin Survey Site, they're keeping an informative blog and you can also follow them on twitter.

Spotlight on Gear – Canada Goose Clothing

April 22nd, 2011 | By | Filed in AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Gear

For over 50 years,Canada Goose has been the leading manufacturer of cold weather clothing. Their products are field tested and relied upon by people living, working, and playing in the world's coldest environments which of course included us! We rely upon all of our gear for safety, comfort, and warmth. While we're happy to provide gear to our clients, many people choose to purchase their own parkas after experiencing how perfectly these jackets perform out on the ice. Arctic Kingdom is a fully licensed Canada Goose dealer, check out our store for a selection of our current offerings and don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have regarding sizing, to order, or to inquire about the newest stock we've received. We also offer great deals on pre-worn gear in the off season. We provide only the best gear to our clients, but don't just take our word for it! Here's a little round-up of what some other reviewers have to say about Canada Goose clothing. Stormchaser.com -
I recently traveled to the top of Mt. Lemmon in SE Arizona during a blizzard. The jackets and parkas worked flawlessly. In fact, the breathability as advertised was most impressive, as I soon forgot I was wearing a jacket due to the interior comfort. I also gave the lighter weight jacket (shell) a walk in driving rain and found it to be both water resistant and comfortable.
Snalla Bolaget.com -
These parkas are being used in the most hostile environments that we can get to on the planet, and there’s a good reason for that. Not a single time in the course of wearing one of these, even in -25 degrees C (-13 degrees F) have we been cold. In fact, in most cases we’ve had to pull the zipper down a little, because the down insulation is so effective that the inside of the parka is as warm as you’d expect a well heated living room to be.
Important thing to note - there are a number of online sources which are selling counterfeit Canada Goose clothing. While the price point on this gear can seem a little high, deals are available. It's essential to know you are purchasing through a reputable source! Canada Goose offers some useful information on their site to help you avoid this danger as fakes do not provide nearly the same protection as the genuine article.

Spring Special Offer – Free Flight To The Arctic!

April 19th, 2011 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Upcoming Trip

Fiercely dedicated to creating authentic and awe-inspiring travel experiences, Arctic Kingdom is the only tour operator offering land-based trips to the High Arctic. Through our unique combination of small groups, safari style arctic camps, expedition experts and only the most experienced Inuit guides, we ensure that your experience in the world's most captivating place on earth is second to none. This Spring we have a special offer of a free flight to Nunavut (a savings of up to CDN 2,600) making this no better time to book one of our summer departures! Join us at Pond Inlet, Nunavut for our Narwhal & Polar Bear Floe Edge Adventure June 7 - 11. Experience our safari style camp situated on the floe edge, where the frozen ocean meets the open ocean to create one of the Arctics most spectacular landscapes. Enjoy the warm Spring weather as you scout for Narwhals, Polar Bears, Bowhead Whales and Seals. July 5 - 11 we travel to Foxe Basin to witness the spring Bowhead Whale migration, hunted nearly to extinction but slowly making a comeback. Join us to explore this region just south of the Hecla and Fury Straits to experience the 'bowhead highway'. Contract us for more information, or to reserve your spot. Stay informed of all special offers still to come by subscribing to our newsletter, it's semi-monthly and we never share your email address with third parties.

Images From NASA’s Operation IceBridge

April 14th, 2011 | By | Filed in Current Events, IN THE NEWS, SCIENCE

Following up on the progress of the 2011 IceBridge project, NASA has released some compellingly beautiful photos shot from a recent mission.

Greenland Fjord and Mountain, Credit: NASA/GSFC/Michael Studinger under Creative Commons

On April 8, 2011, IceBridge flew a mission to coastal areas in southwest Greenland. Mountains and an open-water fjord surround one of the mission's targets, a small ice cap called Sukkertoppen Isflade. Operation IceBridge, now in its third year, makes annual campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic where science flights monitor glaciers, ice sheets and sea ice.

Gyldenlove Glacier, Credit: NASA/GSFC/Michael Studinger under Creative Commons

More information about the Ice Bridge project is available on their website.
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