Declining sea ice is having a negative effect on the diets of Polar Bears, causing them to consume foodstuffs higher in pollutants.
Hudson Bay’s polar bears are more contaminated with some pollutants now than in the past due to warmer temperatures that are melting ice sooner in the spring and forcing the bears to eat different food. Read the rest of this entry »
This summer, David de Rothschild will be setting sail from San Francisco in a boat made from recycled plastics. Dubbed the Plastiki, an homage to Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon Tiki, the ship will be bound for the Pacific Garbage Patch, a flotilla of garbage caught in marine currents in the Central North Pacific Ocean.
The purpose of de Rothschild’s journey is to call attention both to the Garbage Patch and to plastic itself — not merely as a form of human waste but as a valuable resource that can and should be used again and again.
Though de Rothschild’s journey will take place far south of Arctic Kingdom’s usual stomping grounds, the health of the Arctic waters we dive in is inextricably connected to the seas of the world below. By simultaneously cutting back on our own consumption and becoming more aware of the potential uses and re-uses of the ‘waste’ products in our lives, we can all help protect and preserve the world’s oceans, from pole to pole.
New Scientist Video: Researcher Alun Hubbard discusses the break up of the ice
The biggest glacier in the Arctic is on the verge of losing a chunk of ice the size of Manhattan. A group of scientists and climate change activists who are closely monitoring the Petermann glacier’s ice tongue believe the rapid flow of ice is in part due to warm ocean currents moving up along the coast of Greenland, fuelled by global warming.
This past Friday, the US House of Representatives voted 219-212 in favor of a bill that will cut back on the industrial pollutants behind global warming.
The House-passed bill requires that large U.S. companies, including utilities, oil refiners, manufacturers and others, reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases associated with global warming by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, from 2005 levels.
They would do so by phasing in the use of cleaner alternative energy than high-polluting oil and coal.
“The scientists are telling us there’s an overwhelming consensus … global warming is real and it’s moving very rapidly,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, the chief sponsor of the legislation.
In urging passage, Waxman also said the legislation would create jobs and help move the United States from its reliance on foreign oil.
Today, I read an interesting article from the Toronto star about new techniques being used to track the affects of hunting and global climate change on Canada’s polar bear population. In the past, scientists have relied on population surveys that involve tracking bears by air and tranquilizing them. Because of the expense inherent in these sorts of studies — more than $2 million per region, over Canada’s thirteen regions — such surveys can only be conducted every thirteen years or so. 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 »
Divers prepare to enter Arctic Bay in 2002. Photo by Expedition Leader Thomas Lennartz
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 »
You won’t find blue whales in the Arctic, but you will find their close cousin, the bowhead whale. Weighing in at 136 tonnes, the bowhead is second only to the blue whale in sheer body mass, though other whales do grow to be longer. The bowhead needs that fat — after all, it spends it’s whole life in the frigid arctic waters!
If the WDCS flash animation just isn’t enough, or if it’s whetted your appetite for the real thing, there are several options for swimming with whales on our trips page, including our upcoming expedition to Lancaster Sound, where bowheads are often spotted swimming alongside migrating narwhal and beluga.