EDGE_patch_bilingual_FINALsmallSponsored by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the Arctic on the Edge/L’Arctique à la limite Expedition documents the life cycle of ice from Greenland to Baffin Island, south down the Labrador Coast, ending in Newfoundland.

The polar region is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet. That means that our northern geography is changing faster than anywhere else on earth. The esteemed scientific journal Nature reported in April 2017 that the Arctic is 3°C warmer now than baseline data from 1971 to 2000. The evidence is clear. The Arctic is undergoing a massive transformation at a time when we have barely documented what lies at the interface between the sea rapidly depleting ice. Arctic on the Edge will take a close look at the journey of sea ice and how it is transforming humanity and our natural world.

The story of sea ice begins in Greenland where glacial deposits meet calving grounds along the coast. In sheltered inlets, bays and fjords, glaciers march towards the ocean and calve into the sea. From here, they begin a voyage across the Davis Strait to Baffin Island and then south along the Labrador Coast to Newfoundland. In early 2017, reports indicate that ice conditions between Newfoundland and southern Labrador are the worst in recorded history hampering shipping and fishermen from their normal routes.

The Canadian Ice Service reported above normal ice melt in 2016, generally occurring 1-2 weeks ahead of normal across most of the Canadian Arctic, with some regions remaining 2-3 weeks ahead of normal through the summer. By early September, ice cover was the third-lowest on record, behind 2012 and 2011. With changing ice conditions comes a change in the way of life for people and wildlife in the Arctic. Now, more than ever, it is critical to document the stories of our connection’s with ice.

Join the story by following the blog below.

In March 2017, Jill Heinerth was presented with the Polar Medal by the Governor General of Canada at a ceremony in London, Ontario.  The Polar Medal celebrates Canada’s northern heritage and recognizes persons who render extraordinary services in the polar regions and in Canada’s North.  As an official honour created by the Crown, the Polar Medal is part of the Canadian Honours System.

Visiting a Place of Inspirational Beauty

By | Arctic, Royal Canadian Geographical Society, We Are Water | No Comments
Lawren Harris 1931, the view from Pond Inlet

Lawren Harris 1931, the view from Pond Inlet

South Shore Bylot Island

In 1931, Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris painted a series of canvases of an Arctic landscape that captivated my imagination since my childhood. I will now have the privilege of visiting the very spot on the South shore of Bylot Island where he coaxed his oils into masterpieces that have netted as much as $2.43 million dollars. The Group of Seven is undoubtedly one of the most influential art movements in Canadian history. They captured the Canadian landscape in a way that nobody had done before. Franklin Carmichael (1890–1945), Lawren Harris (1885–1970), A. Y. Jackson (1882–1974), Frank Johnston (1888–1949), Arthur Lismer (1885–1969), J. E. H. MacDonald (1873–1932), and Frederick Varley (1881–1969) showed us the country’s landscape in a raw and colorful beauty that defined our perceptions of the wilderness. I have longed to visit the places where Harris brought the Arctic landscape alive with color. Now I have my opportunity.

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A World Without Ice

By | Arctic, Royal Canadian Geographical Society, We Are Water | No Comments
Have you ever wondered what our world would look like without ice?

The video assembled by Business Insider is based on the 2013 National Geographic story, “What the World Would Look Like if All the Ice Melted.” It shows a model that represents a sea level rise of 216 feet.

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Just Getting There

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It is a journey just to begin an expedition and it requires the help of a lot of people. Staging equipment can be monumental in and of itself. In order to conduct diving activities in Southeast Bylot Island, Nunavut, a lot of logistics came together. Arctic Kingdom has already staged a camp on the edge of the ice floe. They have also shipped a compressor and tanks to the camp and all the equipment we will need for support from food to shelter. Canadian North and Nunavut Tourism have sponsored an airline ticket to reach Pond Inlet. I am extremely grateful for their generous assistance. Here is what the journey looks like so far:

2451 km – High Springs, Florida to Fergus, Ontario – Driving camera and scuba equipmentCANNO Logo - Airlines_FC

541 km – Fergus to Ottawa, Ontario – Driving to meet first flight

2100 km – Ottawa, Ontario to Iqaluit, Nunavut – Flight leg one

796 km – Iqaluit to Hall Beach, Nunavut – Flight leg two

71 km – Hall Beach to Igloolik, Nunavut – Flight leg three

395 km – Igloolik to Pond Inlet – Flight leg four

70 km – Pond Inlet to Southeast Bylot Island – Qamutik traditional sled to ice edge

Total distance traveled: 6424 km

For someone who usually travels underground, that is almost exactly the distance to the center of the earth!

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Climate Regulation

Ocean currents transport warm water and precipitation from the equator to the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics on a global conveyor system that regulates the world’s climate.

Deep Ocean Circulation
Deep-ocean currents and atmospheric circulation work together to transport massive amounts of heat and salt around the globe. Sunlight warmed water at the equator flows into the North Atlantic, where it is cooled and becomes saltier through evaporation. Cold, salty water is heavy and drops to the seafloor forming a massive undersea river. The deep water flows through the world’s oceans on a current-driven conveyor, rising in places where winds sweep away warm surface water. Freshwater evaporated from the Atlantic falls as rain on the Pacific, diluting the upwelling salty water with freshwater and restoring balance.

Surface Ocean Currents
The wind drives surface currents and in turn, influences atmospheric circulation. Both ocean and atmospheric circulation are shaped by the spin of the Earth. Surface currents form massive circular patterns called gyres that, because of the Earth’s rotation, flow clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Currents, on the edges of the gyres, carry warm tropical water to higher latitudes and cold polar water to the lower latitudes.

Loss of Sea Ice

NASA’s cryospheric scientist Dr. Walt Meier narrates this important visual. documenting changes in Arctic sea ice between 1984 and 2016. An updated version of this visualization can be downloaded in HD here.

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