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Posts Tagged "Arctic"

The Artful Amoeba

Wonderful Things: Don’t Eat the Pink Snow

Chlamydomonas_nivalis_geometric_snow_wiki_cc_Ökologix_200

If you stumbled one midsummer on the melting snow in the image below, what would you imagine produced the strange color? Here’s another example with a pinker hue, from further out. Here’s a poorer example that I stumbled on myself on July 4, 2011 on Long’s Peak in Colorado: When an 1818 British expedition led [...]

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Expeditions

The Catlin Arctic Survey: A melting ocean

There have been many media headlines recently concerning the melting of the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, often focused on the opening of the North West Passage and further commercial opportunities in this region. Current predictions are that there will be no summer time sea ice coverage by 2050. This increased flux of fresh [...]

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Expeditions

The Catlin Arctic Survey: Thermohaline circulation

If you look at a map of the world and draw a line through London, a latitude of about 50 degrees North and follow this line across the world, you’ll see that it passes through southern Siberia and skims the southern shores of Hudson Bay in Canada. The week before I came out to the [...]

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Expeditions

The Catlin Arctic Survey: The science

I do not consider myself to be an explorer and I have never had the desire to walk to the North Pole. I always compete with the cat to be in the warmest spot in the house. I take a hot water bottle to bed in the summer and I do not like to be [...]

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Expeditions

The Catlin Arctic Survey: Challenges

Living and working in the high Arctic at this time of year is full of challenges. From the small everyday stuff like sleeping, washing and using the toilet, to the bigger issues that affect our science such as icing up of instruments, freezing of your water samples and keeping a hole in the ice open [...]

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Expeditions

The Catlin Arctic Survey: Arrival at ice camp

Once in Resolute Bay you feel like you are at the edge of the world, your view is of nothing but snow covered hills and sea ice. Explorers walking to the North Pole are flown from here to locations northward for their trek across the frozen sea. This is not our final destination either. We [...]

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Expeditions

Destination: Arctic!

Editor’s Note: The Catlin Arctic Survey is a unique collaboration among polar explorers and scientists to gather data on the impacts of climate and environmental change in the Arctic. This 10-week international scientific expedition will travel to the farthest reaches of the Arctic to research the impact of melting ice caps on the world’s oceans [...]

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Expeditions

ICESCAPE scientists scan Arctic seas for melt ponds, “frazil,” “grease” and “pancake”

Haley Smith Kingsland in the Arctic

Editor’s Note: Haley Smith Kingsland is an Earth systems master’s student at Stanford University specializing in science communication. For five weeks she’s in the land of no sunsets participating in ICESCAPE, a NASA-sponsored research cruise to investigate the effects of climate change on the Chukchi and Bering seas. This is her second blog post for [...]

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Expeditions

Ode to the lowly tussock

Tussocks blooming by Horn Lake on Alaska

Editor’s Note: Vienna, Austria-based science writer Chelsea Wald is taking part in a two-week Marine Biological Laboratory journalism fellowship at Toolik Field Station, an environmental research post inside the Arctic Circle. To see the current conditions in Toolik, check out the Webcam. Walking over Eriophorum, Watch your step of you’ll fall off ‘em. –Benjamin Shaw, [...]

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Expeditions

Adventures in Alaskan science: How I escaped from a thermokarst

Scientists Mike Gooseff shoveling the blogger out of a thermokarst

Editor’s Note: Vienna, Austria-based science writer Chelsea Wald is taking part in a two-week Marine Biological Laboratory journalism fellowship at Toolik Field Station, an environmental research post inside the Arctic circle. To see the current conditions in Toolik, check out the Webcam. I was nearly eaten by a thermokarst. I just stepped in and, before [...]

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Expeditions

Icebreaker Healy sets forth on ICESCAPE

haley-in-arctic

Editor’s Note: Haley Smith Kingsland is an Earth systems master’s student at Stanford University specializing in science communication. For five weeks she’s in the land of no sunsets participating in ICESCAPE, a NASA-sponsored research cruise to investigate the effects of climate change on the Chukchi and Bering seas. This is her first blog post for [...]

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Extinction Countdown

New Polar Bear Counting Method Creates Confusion

A few weeks ago, the director of wildlife for Nunavut, Canada, made an unexpected declaration, claiming that the number of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the western Hudson Bay region is increasing, even though scientists say the population is declining. Western Hudson Bay is one of 19 distinct polar bear subpopulations, and previous research has [...]

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Extinction Countdown

More polar bear news than you can shake a rapidly melting icicle at

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) got a long-awaited boost on November 23 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) finally designated more than 485,000 square kilometers of “critical habitat” for the species, which is listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The critical habitat was first proposed in October 2009, and a ruling [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Polar Rare: The Arctic’s apex predator could disappear from Hudson Bay in 10 years

polar bear

Canada’s western Hudson Bay could lose its population of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in as little as a decade, according to new research by biologist Andrew Derocher and others from the University of Alberta (U.A.). Derocher tells Yale Environment 360 that the polar bears in western Hudson Bay have lost 25 percent of their population [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Study: High Arctic’s biodiversity down 26 percent since 1970

Arctic landscape

Mammals, birds and fish living in the High Arctic experienced an average 26 percent drop in their populations between 1970 and 2004 due to the loss of sea ice, according to a new report from The Arctic Species Trend Index, "Tracking Trends in Arctic Wildlife." The 2010 report, commissioned and coordinated by the Whitehorse, Yukon–based [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Discordant decisions: A protected habitat is proposed for endangered polar bears, while oil drilling is approved nearby

polar bear

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed designating some 200,000 square miles of lands and waters along the north coast of Alaska as "critical habitat" for endangered polar bears (Ursus maritimus). In May 2008 the bears received limited protected status as a "threatened species" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). A proposed [...]

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Guest Blog

To catch a fallen sea angel: A mighty mollusk detects ocean acidification

  "What’s more," snapped the Lorax. (His dander was up.) "Let me say a few words about Gluppity-Glupp. Your machine chugs on, day and night without stop making Gluppity-Glupp. Also Schloppity-Schlopp. And what do you do with this leftover goo?… I’ll show you. You dirty old Once-ler man, you! "You’re glumping the pond where the [...]

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Observations

Mathematical Patterns in Sea Ice Reveal Melt Dynamics

Melt ponds on the surface of Arctic sea ice. Credit: Karen Frey

Some people call Ken Golden the “Indiana Jones” of mathematics due to his frequent excursions to remote, harsh parts of the world. Golden, a professor of mathematics at the University of Utah, studies the dynamics of sea ice, and he regularly goes out into the field to test his hypotheses. He has visited the Arctic [...]

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Observations

Climate Paradox: Longer Antarctic Melt Season May Mean Less Global Warming

Glacier ice shelves breaking up in the Antarctic

Normally, the news that Antarctica’s summer melt season is getting longer might just be added to an endless compilation of scientific evidence that confirms the reality of global climate change. A recent research report, though, seems to run counter to the conventional wisdom. It shows that if the ice pack at the bottom of the [...]

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Observations

Arctic Sea Ice Reaches New Low

arctic-sea-ice-2012

The cap of ice that sits atop the North Pole has shrunk to a record extent—and there is likely still more melting to come before the end of the summer of 2012. As of August 26, Arctic sea ice extent had shrunk to 4.1 million square kilometers, below the previous record minimum of 4.17 million [...]

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Observations

Sea Level Rise Dramatized in Multimedia “Book App”

deep-water-book

Of course you know that polar ice sheets and glaciers are melting, and that as a result, sea level is starting to rise. But once you take in a new multimedia book, Deep Water, by Daniel Grossman, you’ll feel the changes in your gut. You will also have a good sense for how scientists are [...]

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Observations

Was the Suspension of Drowned Polar Bear Discoverer Politically Motivated? You Be the Judge

polar-bears-on-ice

Flying about 460 meters above the seas off Alaska in 2004 on the hunt for bowhead whales, federal wildlife biologist Charles Monnett and colleagues spotted four white blobs floating in the water. The white blobs were polar bears, which drowned in the open ocean following a powerful Arctic storm. Two years later, Monnett and his [...]

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Plugged In

The Cold Rush: An Effort to Protect the Arctic from Oil Spills During Rapid Development

On May 15th, the U.S. was given an assignment to create a contingency plan for oil and gas spills in the Arctic. Seven other Arctic Council nations – Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden – have to do the same. The need for such a strategy first surfaced due to the Macondo blowout [...]

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Symbiartic

A DIY Fossil Hunting Activity for Pre-K Classrooms

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The following project constitutes a half-hour activity for 3-, 4-, or 5-year olds. It includes the entire process from finding fossils to putting the recovered pieces together like a puzzle to drawing our best guess at what it looked like in life. The details of the project are based on my experience working in Neil [...]

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Symbiartic

Music Steeped in the Wilds of Canada

14-014FEATURE

Eighteen years ago this July, a group of 14 adventurers unloaded tents, gear, food, canoes, and two guitars from the back of a big old bus and loaded them into 7 canoes in a nondescript boat launch outside of Yellowknife, NWT. For the next 47 days, they would paddle against the current, slog through bogs, [...]

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