Pax Arctica's Blog

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin vs. Polar Bear


Alaska sues over listing polar bear as threatened

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska sued Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on Monday, seeking to reverse his decision to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Gov. Sarah Palin and other state officials fear a listing will cripple offshore oil and gas development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in Alaska's northern waters, which provide prime habitat for the only polar bears under U.S. jurisdiction.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kayaking to the North Pole


I guess the next step will be swimming:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7588329.stm

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Arctic: Point of No Return?


... Over all, the picture of what is happening in the Arctic is getting worse, said Bob Corell, who headed a multinational scientific assessment of Arctic conditions a few years ago. “We’re moving,” he said, “beyond a point of no return.”

Full Story: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/science/earth/28seaice.html?_r=1&scp=5&sq=polar%20bear&st=cse&oref=slogin

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Snow and Ice Data Center has reported that sea ice in the Arctic now covers about 2.03 million square miles. The lowest point since satellite measurements began in 1979 was 1.65 million square miles, last September.

With about three weeks left in the Arctic summer, this year could wind up breaking that record, scientists said.

Arctic ice always melts in summer and refreezes in winter. But over the years, more of the ice is lost to the sea with less of it recovered in winter. While ice reflects the sun’s heat, the open ocean absorbs more heat, and the melting accelerates warming in other parts of the world.

Sea ice also serves as primary habitat for threatened polar bears.

“We could very well be in that quick slide downward in terms of passing a tipping point,” said Mark Serreze, a senior scientist at the data center, in Boulder, Colo. “It’s tipping now. We’re seeing it happen now.”

Five climate scientists, four of them specialists on the Arctic, told The Associated Press that it was fair to call what was happening in the Arctic a “tipping point.”

Last year was an unusual year when wind currents and other weather conditions coincided with global warming to worsen sea ice melt, Dr. Serreze said. Scientists wondered if last year was an unusual event or the start of a new and disturbing trend.

This year’s results suggest the latter because the ice had recovered a bit more than usual thanks to a somewhat cooler winter, Dr. Serreze said. Then this month, when the melting rate usually slows, it sped up instead, he said.

The most recent ice retreat primarily reflects melt in the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska’s northwest coast, and the East Siberian Sea, off the coast of eastern Russia, according to the center.

The Chukchi Sea is home to one of two populations of Alaska polar bears.

Federal observers flying for a whale survey on Aug. 16 spotted nine polar bears swimming in open ocean in the Chukchi. The bears were 15 to 65 miles off the Alaska shore. Some were swimming north, apparently trying to reach the polar ice edge, which on that day was 400 miles away.

Polar bears are powerful swimmers and have been recorded on swims of 100 miles, but the ordeal can leave them exhausted and susceptible to drowning.

And the melt in sea ice has kicked in another effect, long predicted, called “Arctic amplification,” Dr. Serreze said.

That is when the warming up north is increased in a feedback mechanism and the effects spill southward starting in autumn, Dr. Serreze said. Over the last few years, the bigger melt has meant more warm water that releases more heat into the air during fall cooling, making the atmosphere warmer than normal.

On top of that, researchers are investigating “alarming” reports in the last few days of the release of methane from long-frozen Arctic waters, possibly from the warming of the sea, said Bill Hare, a Greenpeace climate scientist, who was attending a climate conference in Ghana. Giant burps of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas, is a long-feared effect of warming in the Arctic that would accelerate warming even more, according to scientists.

Over all, the picture of what is happening in the Arctic is getting worse, said Bob Corell, who headed a multinational scientific assessment of Arctic conditions a few years ago. “We’re moving,” he said, “beyond a point of no return.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ward Hunt cracking - A 180º view

A panoramic view (5 photos stitched):
Ward-Hunt-Ice-Shelf.mov
(place curser in the photo and drag to see the panorama)


Ward Hunt Island/July 22, 2008: After 4 hours of walking, the Pax Arctica team reaches the main crack from where the ice island on the other side of the crack is calving.

Ward Hunt / 22 juillet 2008: Après 4 heures de marche, l'équipe Pax Arctica découvre la fissure qui sépare l'île flottante de la plate-forme de glace où nous sommes.

GPS coordinates =
83º07.458’
W074º35.099’

© Luc Hardy / SAGAX - All rights reserved

Flying from Beechey Island


On the way back from Beechey Island to Resolute Bay on July 15, breaking sea ice forms graphic patterns...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Blowin' in the wind...


July 28: Matty, Sebastian and Aïnhoa take a break from Bear watching in Radstock Bay. The wind was so strong that we could not even fall down!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ward Hunt break-off: VIDEO



Pax Arctica expedition first on the ice to witness major break-off of Arctic ice shelf around Ward Hunt Island


An international coalition of children exploring the high Arctic witnessed firsthand the latest dramatic development of climate change on Tuesday, July 22 as a huge chunk of ice was observed drifting off the Ward Hunt Island main ice shelf, forming two ice islands totaling 20 square kilometers. The children, assembled as The Young Ambassadors of the Arctic, are part of the Global Green USA and Green Cross Pax Arctica '08 expedition.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

July 31: Pendule de Foucault at Resolute Bay


Prof. René Verreault and Sophie Lamontagne prepare for their experiment in a 15m tower.
inside, a 56kg pendule de Foucault will be positioned for an experiment during the solar eclipse of the next morning, which may be of great interest for physics!
A suivre...

Monday, August 4, 2008

L’expédition Pax Arctica premier témoin de la fracture de la plate-forme de glace Ward Hunt

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE

L’expédition Pax Arctica premier témoin de la fracture de la plate-forme de glace Ward Hunt

Resolute Bay, Nunavut – 3 août 2008

Le mardi 22 juillet, une coalition internationale d’enfants a été le premier témoin “sur la glace” de la fracture d’une importante section de la plate-forme de glace de Ward Hunt, qui a formé deux “îles flottantes” d’un total de 20 kilomètres carrés la semaine dernière. En tant que Jeunes Ambassadeurs de l’Arctique, ces enfants faisaient partie de l’expédition Pax Arctica 2008 en partenariat avec Green Cross International et Global Green USA.

« Notre objectif était d’observer l’état de la plate-forme de glace de Ward Hunt » a déclaré Sebastian Copeland, co-leader de l’expédition et administrateur de Global Green USA. « Rien n’aurait pu nous préparer à l’étendue de notre découverte. Après quatre heures de marche sur une difficile surface de neige et de glace, nous avons atteint cette fracture. C’était tellement large que nous ne pouvions deviner que « l’île flottante » dérivait déjà de la plate-forme. Nous étions en fait les premiers sur le terrain à témoigner de cet incroyable développement. Ces fissures sont des symboles édifiants du réchauffement climatique »

« Nous étions sur l’île de Ward Hunt pour une mission d’exploration, en relation avec Dr. Derek Mueller, un chercheur en glaciologie de l’Université de Trent, Ontario. Nous avons vraiment eu de la chance d’arriver juste au moment où la glace dérivait » faisait remarquer Luc Hardy, co-leader de l’expédition.
qui va partager avec Dr. Mueller les vidéos, photos et coordonnées GPS des fissures observées par l’équipe Pax Arctica pendant l’expédition.

« Ce nouveau développement est une menace supplémentaire pour la plate-forme de glace de Ward Hunt, la plus grande, la plus épaisse et la plus ancienne plate-forme de glace de l’Arctique.” a ajouté Luc Hardy –

D’après Derek Mueller, le premier à découvrir la fracture de la plate-forme de Ward Hunt en 2002, ce qui vient de se passer est la conséquence du réchauffement climatique graduel, notamment dans le Nord : « Cette plate-forme a été déstabilisée suite à des fissures depuis 6 ans et les récentes conditions d’eaux libres dans le Nord ont facilité cette nouvelle fissure. Les observations réalisées par l’équipe Pax Arctica vont aider à cerner la date exacte de début de dérive. »


L’expédition Pax Arctica a exploré les fissures de Ward Hunt, mais a également visité d’autres sites Arctiques tels que : Iqaluit, Kimmirut, Resolute Bay, Somerset Island, Otto Fjord et Radstock Bay. Sa mission a consisté à interagir avec les cultures locales, avec des scientifiques réalisant des études sur le terrain et plus généralement à vivre l’Arctique en tant que témoin de leur génération.
Les enfants, âgés de 9 à 17 ans, représentant la France, l’Allemagne, l’Italie, le Kenya, les USA et le Nunavut (Canada), ont été sélectionnés pour servir en tant que Jeunes Ambassadeurs de l’Arctique et pour transmettre leur découvertes et observations à leurs communautés et aux générations futures. Leur expérience sera racontée dans un documentaire et un livre.

Pax Arctica est une mission sur plusieurs années, destinée à étudier et sensibiliser le public aux effets du changement climatique en Arctique.
Pax Arctica est une initiative en partenariat avec Green Cross France, Global Green USA (membres de Green Cross International, l’organisation environnementale fondée par Mikhaïl Gorbatchev) et Sagax Expéditions.

Cette initiative est sponsorisée en partie par HP, la marque de vêtements Napapijri et Groupe UFG.

Pour plus d’information sur Pax Arctica:

www.paxarctica.org
et http://expressioncenter.wetpaint.com/page/Team+Leaders?t=anon



Luc Hardy
Pax Arctica
paxarctica@sagax.com
Tel: +1-203-625 0237

Ruben Aronin
Global Green USA
raronin@globalgreen.org
Tel: +1-310-581-2700




Joanna Taieb
Green Cross France
joanna.taieb@greencross.fr
Tel: + 33 1 42 24 96 07

John Coo
Green Cross Canada
greencross@sympatico.ca
Tel: +1-613-697-4949

Record Heat in Iqaluit!

We started the Ellesmere leg of our expedition in Resolute Bay on July 11, 2008, with record temperatures...

We are ending it with record temperatures in Iqaluit:

"Iqaluit's scorching summer...

Iqaluit was the hottest it's ever been last week. Last Monday, the mercury hit 26.8 C, the all-time highest temperature ever recorded in the capital city's history.
The normal high temperature for this time of year is around 12ºC."...


http://74.125.45.104/search?q=cache:EdyoO2haKNoJ:www.nnsl.com/nunavutnews/index.html+Iqaluit+was+the+hottest+it%27s+ever+been+last+week&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

August 4: We are all back!


After a few days of patiently waiting for planes to land in various locations on Ellesmere islands, here we are, back in New York (Luc) and Los Angeles (Sebastian).
The photo is from the bay of Iqaluit at low tide. Lots of fog and still icebergs. Near the airport.

In the next few days we will feed you with news, observations and comments. Lots of catch up to do!

Great summer to all the friends of the Arctic.

Pax Arctica expedition first on the ice to witness major break-off of Arctic ice shelf around Ward Hunt Island



Resolute Bay, Nunavut – August 3, 2008

An international coalition of children exploring the high Arctic witnessed firsthand the latest dramatic development of climate change on Tuesday, July 22 as a huge chunk of ice was observed drifting off the Ward Hunt Island main ice shelf, forming two ice islands totaling 20 square kilometers. The children, assembled as The Young Ambassadors of the Arctic, are part of the Global Green USA and Green Cross Pax Arctica '08 expedition.

"Our objective was to observe the state of the Ward Hunt ice shelf” said Sebastian Copeland, co-leader of the expedition and Global Green USA board member. “Nothing could have prepared us for the extent of our findings. After a 4-hour hike in slushy ice, we stumbled upon a major break in the shelf. It was so large that we could not have imagined the crack to be in fact developing before our very eyes. We were essentially the first to witness this dramatic development from up close.”

“In a way, the fissures on the ice shelf are the fault lines of global warming,” added Copeland.

"We were on the island for hands-on facts gathering in connection with Dr. Derek Mueller, a polar scientist at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. We were incredibly fortunate to be there as the ice shelf was calving,” said Luc Hardy, co-leader of the expedition, who is sharing with Dr. Mueller videos, photographs and GPS coordinates of ice conditions and new cracks. “This new development is another threat to the Ward Hunt ice shelf, the largest, oldest and thickest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic,” added Hardy.

According to Dr. Mueller, the first to report the cracking of the Ward Hunt ice shelf in 2002, what was witnessed is the consequence of gradually warming temperatures, especially in the North: “This ice shelf has become destabilized with cracks over the past 6 years and recent open water conditions to the north of the ice shelf have facilitated the latest break off. The observations made by the Pax Arctica team will help pin down exactly when the calving took place“

In addition to exploring ice cracks, the Pax Arctica team visited sites in Iqaluit, Kimmirut, Resolute Bay, Somerset Island, Otto Fjord and Radstock Bay. Their mission was to interact with local culture, scientists conducting field studies, and to experience the Arctic environment as the eyes of their generation. The children, ages 9 to 17 and representing France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, the US and Nunavut (Canada) were selected to serve as “The Young Ambassadors of the Arctic” to observe the impact of climate change on the Arctic and take the message back to their communities and future generations. Their experience will be assembled into a documentary and a book.

Pax Arctica is a multi-year mission to study and educate the public about the effects of climate change to the Arctic. Pax Arctica is a joint effort by Global Green USA, Green Cross France (members of Green Cross International, the environmental organization founded by Mikhail Gorbachev) and Sagax Expeditions.

This initiative was sponsored in part by HP, the clothing brand Napapijri and Groupe UFG.

You can find out more about Pax Arctica by visiting:

www.paxarctica.org
and
http://expressioncenter.wetpaint.com/page/Team+Leaders?t=anon

For more information please contact:

Ruben Aronin
Global Green USA
raronin@globalgreen.org
+1-310-581-2700

Luc Hardy
Pax Arctica
paxarctica@sagax.com
+1-203-625 0237

John Coo
Green Cross Canada
greencross@sympatico.ca
+1-613-697-4949