Arctic Aerial Images Encouraging & Awe Inspiring

Mario Tama photographed these breathless Arctic photos from a Lockheed P-3 accompanying a NASA crew carrying out Operation Icebridge, an operation initiated to measure Earth’s glaciers and ice sheets. The stillness, colors and textures of the Arctic landscape left Tama speechless.

“It’s such an unexpected landscape,” he says. “It felt like we were flying over a different planet.”

NASA spends 10 weeks each spring in the Arctic when the ice levels are at their highest using a pair of laser altimeters to record ice elevation and three types of radars to measure snow – one of which reaches 300 feet down to bedrock. Flying shifts of up to 12 hours, the crew surveyed hundreds of miles of coastline along Ellesmere Island in Canada and Greenland. While researchers focused on computer screens, Tama focused his camera on a landscape without scale.

“I was looking at shapes and features that I had never seen in my life,” Tama says. “We’d drop through the clouds or take a turn into a valley, and I’d be sitting there trying to process, what am I looking at?”

Last year the National Snow and Ice Data Center NASA and operation IceBridge announced the lowest ice levels for the Arctic and Antarctic in the past 38 years.

“Changes in Arctic sea ice is seen as one of the primary indicators of climate change,” says Nathan Kurtz, project scientist for Operation IceBridge. “It’s been changing so rapidly—the Arctic has been changing and warming. What we’re trying to do is get a sense of what’s driving some of the bigger changes that we’re seeing.”

Tama’s stunning images remind us all of the majestic beauty of the north that is in jeopardy due to global warming!

ellesmere island ice field

Ellesmere Island ice field. NASA photo.

Ice pack near Ellesmere Island. NASA photo.

Baffin Island ice. NASA photo.

Ice along the Baffin Island coast Greenland. NASA photo.

NASA avionics technician surveys the Arctic landscape. NASA photo.

Ellesmere Island glacier

Glacier on Ellesmere Island. NASA photo.

Baffin coast ice field Greenland. NASA photo.

 

 

 

Churchill Photo of the Week – Greenland Aurora

With the Churchill Northern lights season approaching in a few months, we want to show you what the season in Greenland produced in the form of aurora borealis. This shot from versatile Natural Habitat Adventures guide Eric Rock highlights the beautiful aurora travelers were exposed to in the remoteness of this wild region. Looking forward to another amazing northern lights season in Churchill beginning in January!

northern lights in Greenland

Aurora over the Greenland landscape. Eric Rock photo.

Arctic Spotlight – Greenland Photos

These stunning photos from Natural Habitat guide Melissa Scott in Greenland highlight the intense scenic beauty there. Greenland Base Camp is one of the newest wonders conceived by Natural Habitat Adventures. The Arctic experience is enjoyed while relaxing in incredibly comforting accommodations. Check out some of the incredible images by Melissa and dream of visiting this outer world within our world!

Humpback whale Greenland

A humpback whale exposes his tail fluke in a Greenland fjiord. Melissa Scott photo.

Greenland house Tasiliaq

A typical Greenland residence in Tasiliaq. Melissa Scott photo.

Aurora borealis in Greenland

Ribbons of aurora in Greenland. Melissa Scott photo.

Greenland iceberg

Giant iceberg off the coast of Greenland. Melissa Scott photo.

 

Tasiliaq, Greenland northern lights

Magnificent northern lights over a Greenland inlet, Greenland. Melissa Scott photo.

icy Greenland fjiord

Exploring the fjiords of Greenland with Natural Habitat Adventures. Melissa Scott photo.

Kayaking in Greenland Base Camp Greenland

Kayaking in front of Natural Habitat base camp. Melissa Scott photo.

Northern fulmar in Greenland

A northern fulmar glides across a fjiord in Greenland. Melissa Scott photo.

aurora borealis Greenland

Aurora borealis over the town of Tasiliaq, Greenland.

Russian Pilot Fends Off Polar Bears

Sergey Ananov a Russian pilot attempting to circumnavigate the Arctic Circle in a two-seater Robinson R22 helicopter went down in the Arctic Ocean after his helicopter lost altitude for nearly three minutes. A gear belt broke midway through his flight to Greenland from Iqualuit and Ananov ditched the aircraft in the Davis Strait in frigid, ice strewn waters.

Sergei Ananov and helicopter

Pilot Sergei Ananov was flying to Nuuk, Greenland from Iqualuit when his helicopter faltered and crashed. Sergei Ananov photo.

Ananvov had time only to secure a life raft before the helicopter sunk out of sight in the ocean. He was rescued off an ice floe 30 hours after his helicopter crashed. At that point Ananov had to fight two enemies; frigid cold and polar bears!

Ananov, a sociologist and journalist, has had no experience with polar bears and had to try anything to fend off a few.

 

“I was trembling from the very first minute of my stay on the ice,” said Ananov. His clothes were soaking wet.

Shivering in wet clothes,  the first of three polar bears arrived, a moment Ananov describes as “terrifying.”

“I had my strategy,” he says. “I was hiding under my life raft (and) when they were very, very close I just jumped out of my raft.”

“I (understood) I must do something very angry and frightening,” he says, “so I roared at them, I put up my hands and I chased them.”

As he managed to stay somewhat warm with the life raft as cover and his success in scaring the polar bears away gave him some hope, Ananov quickly faced another  obstacle…fog.

“At some point I was losing hope because I thought this fog will never disappear,” he says.

Late Sunday night, the fog cleared and Ananov heard a helicopter above him and saw a distant light.

“Here I said, ‘Okay this is my last chance and the last flare,’” he added. “They noticed the very last seconds of the flare.”

Canadian Coast Guard ship Pierre Radisson, was the safe haven for Ananov after his rescue. On board he was warmed up, medically treated and ate a “brilliant supper.

Ananov  thanked the coast guard fervently for “a tremendous job.”

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