Arctic waters are home to many amazing animal species, including such whales as narwhals, belugas, and graceful bowheads. Today, researchers are using the travels and travails of these still-mysterious Arctic whales to illuminate the changing nature of Arctic sea ice as Earth warms.
Greenland’s galloping glaciers will likely slow their rapid retreat in the coming century, scientists project based on a new computer modeling study.
In the study, published today (May 8) in the journal Nature, researchers resolve one of the biggest uncertainties about Greenland’s future contributions to sea-level rise: the behavior of its outlet glaciers. These massive ice rivers drain to the ocean, adding both surface runoff water and icebergs to the sea. The researchers discovered that Greenland’s outlet glaciers retreat in episodic pulses, which account for the past 10 years of dramatic ice loss…
Calanus glacialis, among others. This giant among copepods, (the individual pictured is a whopping 6mm long) is one of the most abundant in Arctic surface waters. This animal is an important food source for cod and herring. The copepods in turn feed on phytoplankton and are believed to be one of the most important grazers in the region.
Food availability is low in the winter, so C. glacialis store up lipid deposits in their bodies while the grazing is good, and migrate to deeper water to pass the winter in a state of diapause (hibernation).
…is a large species of sea duck native to the coasts of Alaska and Siberia. Like other sea ducks the spectacled eider dives for its meals which usually consist of molluscs and crustaceans. The spectacled eider like other eider species is sexually dimorphic as males sport a striking white, black and green coloration while females have a more modest chocolate brown coloration. During the breeding season eider pairs will move inland to tundras close to the sea to lay their young.
Color-Changing Hare Can’t Keep Up With Climate Change
by Elizabeth Pennisi
For hares, fashion is a life or death proposition. Whereas Peter Rabbit could always jump down his hole to escape a fox, his cousin, the hare, has to rely on blending in with his environment to avoid detection. But as the climate warms, hares may no longer be able to stay in sync with their environment, according to a new study. The animals will be switching from earthy brown to snowy white or vice versa at the wrong time and becoming targets for hungry predators.
After more than a decade of studying snowshoe hares in the Rocky Mountains, L. Scott Mills, a wildlife biologist at the University of Montana, Missoula, noticed that the animals were beginning to stick out more than usual. In winter their coats turn white; in summer they are a mottled brown. But Mills was beginning to see white hares on brown backgrounds…
Acclaimed Documentary ‘Chasing Ice’ to Make Television Debut
The story of renowned Nat Geo photographer James Balog’s quest to document the fast decline of the Earth’s glaciers.
culptural, architectural and stunningly beautiful. The world’s glaciers are one of nature’s most impressive and enduring backdrops — epic in size and grandeur. They are also a massive, undeniable casualty of climate change. Now, internationally acclaimed photographer James Balog has captured hundreds of thousands of majestic glacier images that serve as unprecedented visual evidence — grabbing at the gut and allowing us to visualize the change firsthand.
CHASING ICE, winner of best cinematography at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, documents Balog’s three-year quest to capture the natural world in transformation. Placing 26 time-lapse cameras in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska and Montana, Balog’s lenses bear witness to the tension between the huge, enduring power of the glaciers and their ultimate fragility as they crumble piece by piece into the ocean. Compressing years into 90 arresting minutes, the film offers a breath-taking — and haunting — visual retrospective of glaciers receding at unprecedented speeds, and massive pieces of ice sheets breaking off into the ocean…
Russian Refuge: Wrangel Island is a haven for wildlife, frozen in space and time
by Hampton Sides
The Zodiac raft motors through the freezing drizzle, skirting large ice cakes, taking on wave after invigorating wave of Chukchi Sea as we grope our way toward a shore obscured by fog. Although our Russian guide insists that a large island lies just ahead, I’m doubtful. But then the mists dissipate, and suddenly it looms with a starkness enhanced by the refractions of the Arctic atmosphere: a formidable piece of real estate, 91 miles long, its golden mountains speckled with the bright blooms of tundra flowers.
John Muir, the first visitor to describe Wrangel Island to the world, waxed rhapsodic when he saw this vista in 1881. “This grand wilderness in its untouched freshness,” Muir called it, this “severely solitary” land in the “topmost, frost-killed end of creation.”..
In Spring 2013, expeditionary artist Maria Coryell-Martin will join University of Washington scientist Dr. Kristin Laidre in West Greenland to investigate the effects of sea ice loss on polar bears and narwhals, iconic species of the Arctic. This interdisciplinary collaboration will result in a collection of stories and powerful imagery to inspire stewardship for the Arctic and our global environment…
When scientists saw melting across a whopping 97 percent of Greenland’s icy surface last summer, they were quick to note that such an event is rare, but not unprecedented. The last time it happened was in 1889, so while manmade global warming is clearly involved it isn’t necessarily the entire story.
A new new report in Nature on Wednesday has now helped flesh out the explanation: data from Summit Station, at the frozen island’s highest point, 10,551 feet above sea level, show that unusually warm temperatures in the region were enhanced by a blanket of low-level clouds that trapped extra heat from the Sun…
Following the recent sighting of a walrus on the Orkney Islands a few weeks ago, a bearded seal, usually only found in the Arctic, has appeared on Shetland.The bearded seal has been seen intermittently over the last week or so, mostly near the salmon farm in Basta Voe, on the island of Yell…
A bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) resting on melting sea ice beneath storm clouds in Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, Norway. The bearded seal is one of the two species of far-north seals that are victims of disappearing sea ice and dwindling snowpack in their Arctic habitat, and will be granted protections under the US Endangered Species Act, federal officials announced.