Check out these amazing video images from the high Arctic circle. A mother polar bear emerges from her winter den with two new cubs. This unique and spectacular video is from the BBC natural history masterpiece ‘Planet Earth’. Polar bear family’s emerge from their dens in early spring, sometime generally in March and after acclimatising they will be guided to the pack – ice for hunting lessons and for mom to hopefully capture enough seals to feed the family. Enjoy!
Barrow Observatory, an Arctic Circle research station run by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is normally a very cold place with snow lasting well into the summer months. This year is different according to researchers as snow has begun to melt a good month prior to the normal thaw time. It appears the dynamic Arctic summer is starting earlier in the far north.
Barrow Observatory run by NOAA in the Arctic Circle. NOAA photo.
The observatory, 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, is seeing the earliest snow melt in nearly 80 years. David Douglas, a U. S. Geological Survey research biologist stated the area looks like “June or early July right now.” May 13 marked the beginning of the snow melting this year.
The snow melt at Barrow Observatory follows one of the warmest Alaska winters on record. Temperatures were over 11 degrees above average according to NOAA. Douglas emphasizes the melting shows how the Arctic’s ice coverage has become quite fragile and forecasts record low sea ice for in the Arctic for 2016.
“Polar bears are having to make their decisions about how to move and where to go on thinner ice pack that’s mostly first-year ice,” Douglas said.
A polar bear searching for sufficient seal – hunting ice in the Arctic. Kyriaksos Kaziras photo.
These ominous forecasts have been surfacing for years and now we are seeing harbingers of these prophesies in physical evidence all over the world and especially in the high Arctic.
Recent photos from the HMS Erebus wreck site in the Arctic. Sir john Franklin and his crew sailed two ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror into the high Arctic and lost their lives during the infamous 1845 expedition. HMS Erebus was found in September of 2014 and since then an amazing look into the past has captivated the world. The mystery of the HMS Terror continues while researchers search for that ship in the same vicinity.
Northern lights from the deck of the Park’s Canada research ship CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Park’s Canada photo.
HMS Erebus sitting in 11 Meters of water. Park’s Canada photo.
Park’s Canada researcher inspecting the hull of the HMS Erebus in 11 meters of water. Park’s Canada photo.
CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier heading to HMS Erebus site. Park’s Canada photo.
Boot of HMS Erebus crew member. Parks Canada photo.
Fortunately the “last ice” region we are discussing is being used in a manner of symbolism. The area of interest is above Canada’s High Arctic Islands and northwest Greenland. National Geographic Society and World Wildlife Fund-Canada are on a mission to protect the Arctic.
Since the late 1970s when satellite monitoring was instituted, Arctic summer sea ice extent has been shrinking at a rate of about 12 per cent per decade, according to both organizations in an August news release.
Polar bear on sea ice in the high Arctic. Natural Habitat Photo.
The two organizations have teamed up to increase attention and awareness of — the “Last Ice Area” — the region climate scientists project summer sea ice to last the longest.
Recognizing the ‘Last Ice Area’ and the need to protect it for ice-dependent species and northern communities has been a top priority of our Arctic work for several years,” said WWF-Canada President and CEO David Miller. “We couldn’t have asked for a better partner to help steer the public eye northward to this important region.”
The National Geographic Pristine Seas project will include partner WWF-Canada to bring attention to the threats facing the summer sea ice and document “how the Inuit culture is connected to the area and its extraordinary wildlife.”
The “last ice area” near Greenland. Jane George photo.
“Highlighting the ‘Last Ice Area’ and the need to protect it for ice-dependent species and northern communities has been a top priority of our Arctic work for several years,” said WWF-Canada President and CEO David Miller. “We couldn’t have asked for a better partner to help steer the public eye northward to this important region.”
The Pristine Seas project by National Geographic will partner with WWF-Canada to spread awareness of the threats of shrinking summer sea ice areas. The connection between the inuit culture of the north and the extraordinary wildlife will be the primary focus.
“We came close to Arctic wildlife and filmed them like never before while also documenting the last traditional hunting by the Inuit,” said National Geographic’s Enric Sala about a recent trip to northern Baffin Island.