An Arctic Community Is in Danger of Running Out of Fresh Water

By Lisa Cumming

Iqaluit is a booming Arctic city.

 

Iqaluit, the capital of the northern territory of Nunavut, has the fastest-growing population in Canada's Arctic. Yet the community of 7,000 is in danger of running out of fresh water, despite the city's efforts to find a secondary water source, according to a new study published today in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

Lead author Andrew Scott Medeiros, a geography professor at York University in Toronto, once lived in Iqaluit, and is an expert in fresh water and the Arctic. "When I went to walk outside with my dog, the rivers and streams were dry," he said in a phone interview with Motherboard.

Blight or Blessing? How the Wolverine Embodies Arctic Diversity

By Glen Jeffries

 In northern Norway, wolverines largely subsist off the region’s semi-domesticated reindeer herds. That has prompted the government to institute annual culls – but such elusive beasts are proving difficult to hunt, and a backlash from environmentalists is growing, too.

 

THE FIRST WRITTEN account of domesticated reindeer herding originates from around the year 800 AD in what is now Arctic Norway. And for the indigenous Saami people of this region, reindeer husbandry remains to this day integral to their culture and identity.

Arctic pack ice off Newfoundland eases, freeing three trapped vessels

Arctic pack ice that besieged Newfoundland's northeastern coast is showing signs of easing as three fishing boats stuck in thick ice floes returned safely to shore Thursday.

Trevor Hodgson, the Canadian Coast Guard's superintendent of ice operations for the Atlantic region, said the vessels trapped for days off La Scie, N.L., made it back without the assistance of an icebreaker.

"They actually made it back in under their own power this morning and they're all clear and safe," he said, noting that the crews likely found a pathway through the ice back to shore. "It could be that they just got a lucky break."

Hodgson said conditions are expected to improve in the coming days as southerly winds push the dense Arctic ice offshore.

"We've got some southerly winds predicted to start today and go into Saturday, which should help push that ice pack out to sea a little bit to spread out," he said. "We're hoping it's going to not be one giant ice pack but some smaller ice packs that will help it start melting."

Silencing the seas: climate change is irrevocably altering the sound of our oceans

Oceanographer Kate Stafford says that decreases in Arctic sea ice are drastically altering the underwater environment

In the dead of winter, bowhead whales sing beneath Arctic sea ice. It is a sound few of us will ever experience in its true, haunting beauty and, in the future, it's a sound that might be lost forever.

Beyond the variable weather and melting ice caps, climate change is claiming its next victim as it silences the seas. Research has found that the sounds of the ocean are changing with the climate and waters that were once rich with life are being altered beyond recognition.

Nitrous Oxide Poses Fresh Threat to the Arctic

By Scott Waldman,

As permafrost thaws, emissions of this potent greenhouse gas increase

 

The thawing of the Arctic permafrost is releasing a potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere that has rarely been considered as a threat despite its tremendous potential to drive global warming.

Nitrous oxide, or N2O, is more of a threat to the Arctic and global warming than previously believed, according to a study published yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Currently, it's not usually considered when researchers create models to predict the future warming of the region, said Carolina Voigt, a researcher at the University of Eastern Finland and a lead author of the study.

"It is roughly 300 times more powerful in warming the climate than CO2 [carbon dioxide] on a 100-year time horizon, so it is a strong greenhouse gas, and even small amounts emitted can add to the total greenhouse gas budget of the area," she said.

"And so far, it hasn't been measured much in the Arctic, so we can't actually quantify the total N2O greenhouse gas budget for the Arctic."

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