Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Auyuittuq

funny pictures

Four weeks ago, tourists had to be evacuated from Baffin Island's Auyuittuq National Park because of flooding from thawing glaciers. Auyuittuq means "land that never melts".

Two weeks later, in an unprecedented sighting, nine stranded polar bears were seen off Alaska trying to swim 400 miles north to the retreating icecap edge. Ten days ago massive cracking was reported in the Petermann glacier in the far north of Greenland, an area apparently previously unaffected by global warming.

But it is the simultaneous opening – for the first time in at least 125,000 years – of the North-west passage around Canada and the North-east passage around Russia that promises to deliver much the greatest shock. Until recently both had been blocked by ice since the beginning of the last Ice Age.

6 comments:

Bryan said...

I spent a lot of hours flying over the Arctic, and ice was all you saw.

A bigger mess is going to be when the "permafrost" tundra melts. You can't do anything because it's a really a mush. If it doesn't freeze deep enough to support heavy equipment you can forget the current operations on the North Slope, much less anything new.

hipparchia said...

yep.

but the polar bears will grow fat and happy living off the berries and such that will have a longer growing season! they won't miss having to catch seals from ice floes at all!

and i have this mental image of polars bears and moose sinking into the tundra mush...

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

It's sad, it's frightening, and it's anger provoking. I feel all three.

hipparchia said...

hey, nick!

yeah, but think of all the greenhouse gases we'll not emit when the ships can travel over the north pole instead of all the way around entire continents!

/sarcasm

i agree with you [or will shortly, since i'm still stuck at frightening and haven't even made it to sad or angry yet].

ellroon said...

But Governor Palin says the Polar Bears don't need to go on the Endangered list! So we must be fine. And those 9 bears can swim. Polar bears like to swim.

hipparchia said...

swimming, good exercise, much better than lying around napping on ice floes. sedentary lifestyles'll kill ya!

[thanks for the link]