Arctic UpdateOctober 25, 2007 By Rachel Weisshaar
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently issued a “report card” for the Arctic, which warned that the polar ice cap is melting rapidly, and that air temperatures continue to rise. A brief sampling of stories covering the implications of this warming, melting Arctic.“Cold Rush: The Coming Fight for the Melting North,” in the September 2007 issue of Harper’s magazine (subscription required), offers a behind-the-scenes look at Canada’s uncharacteristically forceful assertions of its ownership of Arctic territory—particularly the storied Northwest Passage.
Canada is not the only country trying to gain an advantage in the North. The U.S. Coast Guard plans to establish a new base in Barrow, Alaska as early as the spring of 2008, reports the Associated Press. The base would monitor ship traffic in the Arctic waters, which is expected to increase as more areas remain free of ice for longer periods of time.
The Arctic’s rapidly changing climate is threatening cultural resources, as well as natural ones. Glenn Morris, a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, is leading a four-person team on a 3,000-mile expedition by kayak and dogsled to record the Inuit’s impressions of their rapidly changing environment. Morris wrote about the first stage of the expedition for the BBC; in the second and final stage, to be carried out in the summer of 2008, the team will kayak the Northwest Passage.
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