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You won’t see walrus dancing to pop songs on an Arctic Kingdom expedition. But I guarantee that seeing these massive, gregarious creatures in their natural habitat makes for a sight more impressive than even the finest in semi-aquatic choreography. (See Thomas’ post below for some recent highlights).
Check out our trips page for more information on how you can create your own pinniped pas de deux.
Polar bear encounters on the North Slope oil fields have risen to record levels the last two years, a sign that increasing numbers of the white giants may be prowling on land because the sea ice they prefer is shrinking, scientists said.
Oil field sightings along the southern Beaufort Sea coast jumped to 321 in 2007 and 313 in 2008, said Craig Perham, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist in Anchorage.
That’s more than double the 15-year average of 138.
It’s also a sharp rise from 232, the previous high in 2005.
After voting last November to expand their home-rule agreement with Denmark to include control of police and courts and to make Greenlandic the official language, Greenlanders celebrated their new self-rule status this past Sunday.
Greenland’s Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist said in a speech: “This morning we awoke with new hope in our heart.
“From today we are starting a new era in the history of our country, a new era full of hope and possibilities.”
He added that “other countries have obtained self-determination often through making a lot of sacrifices,” but Greenland has secured it “through dialogue, mutual comprehension and reciprocal respect” with Denmark.
The new status took effect as Greenland celebrated its national day, six months after 75 percent of voters approved a referendum demanding more power for the local government and control of the island’s vast natural resources — gas, gold, diamonds and oil.
Global warming and shrinking sea ice are behind a significant decline in the polar bear population, according to a study released on June 21st.
There are an estimated 1,526 polar bears presently living in the southern Beaufort Sea, according to the latest estimate from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — a 33 percent decline from the service’s estimate of 2,272 in 2003, the last time an assessment was conducted. Read the rest of this entry »
Does “Glacier Hazards from Space” sound like a B-Movie title to anyone else? Well, the glacier hazards aren’t exactly extra-terrestrial. But the science being used to track them is. Read the rest of this entry »
Today is World Oceans Day, a celebration of “our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea.” First proposed by the Canadian government in 1992, World Oceans Day was recognized just this year by the UN as an official holiday.
Here at Arctic Kingdom, we spend a lot of time in, on, and around the world’s oceans. But even if a postcard from your cousin’s Hawaiian vacation is as close as you ever get, your life and that of the ocean are inextricably linked. Read the rest of this entry »
Something about these mountains, hidden deep beneath the Antarctic ice, really appeals to the Jules Verne in me. I know that there (most likely!) aren’t any lost civilizations buried down there with them, but the real science insights to be gleaned from this lost landscape are are pretty cool, too:
Via Google News: AFP: Ghost alps of Antarctica are glimpsed after 14 million years.
PARIS (AFP) — Millions of years ago, rivers ran in Antarctica through craggy mountain valleys that were strangely similar to the European Alps of today, Chinese and British scientists reported on Wednesday.
In a study published by the British journal Nature, they gave a snapshot of terrain that for aeons has lain hidden beneath ice up to several kilometres (nearly two miles) thick. Read the rest of this entry »
Oh well. As Mary Gray noted in the comments section below, scientists have determined the cause of Siberia’s mysterious ice circles. Is it aliens? Alas, no. It’s methane gas. Yahoo news reports,
Methane emissions can create a rising mass of warm water that begins swirling in a circular pattern because of the Coriolis force, or the phenomenon caused by the Earth’s rotation that also helps create cyclones. Read the rest of this entry »
This week, in honor of Arctic Kingdom’s upcoming expeditions to Lancaster Sound, I’m going to be looking at one of the sound’s most elusive creatures: the narwhal. Every day, I’ll post photos of narwhals from Arctic Kingdom’s galleries and photo archives, along with whatever narwhal news and information I can get my hands on.
To kick things off, I spent the morning enjoying “In Search of the Mysterious Narwhal” from Smithsonian Magazine’s May issue, which provides a glimpse into the lives of scientists studying and tracking narwhal in Niaqornat, Greenland. Read the rest of this entry »
New research suggests that Vikings may have visited the Canadian Arctic. The Ottowa Citizen reports,
One of Canada’s top Arctic archeologists says the remnants of a stone-and-sod wall unearthed on southern Baffin Island may be traces of a shelter built more than 700 years ago by Norse seafarers, a stunning find that would be just the second location in the New World with evidence of a Viking-built structure. Read the rest of this entry »