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The Amazing Adventures of Larry and Mark


Volume 19


Final Reflections on the Far North


Way down south in the USA, we have a very mobile society.  Children grow up, leave their

households, and can move thousands of miles away.  Even if the families stay put, they are

lucky to know grandparents and rarely their great-grandparents.  Almost all of us didn't live

here two hundred years ago.


Very few places in the world can the people say that their ancestors ten thousand years ago
lived in the same place, camped by the same rivers, fished the same streams, and lived and
survived the same life that the Inuit living in the arctic do today. Fleece and Gore-tex have
replaced arctic wolf fur and seal skins. Outboard motors have replaced paddles; snow

machines have to a great extent replaced dogs and snow sleds.  But is it better?


Clarence is one tough man to live up in the Arctic.  By the time you've spent 30 or 30

winters up here, you've learned how to take care of yourself and you have a lot you can

teach someone else.  That's what Elders are for. 


The annual average temperature is -30F. and the average summer temperature is 37 to 54 degrees. 

The growing season is only 50-60 days.  The arctic tundra is a polar desert.  Yearly precipitation,

including that which falls as snow, averages only 6 to 10 inches.   The snow which falls in early

winter is still there til melt the next July.



Some notes on the weather:


With sub-freezing temperatures for nine months of the year, the wind chill index is an

important consideration when going anywhere.     Their local weather forecasts have an

interesting piece of information we  don't see down here. It's called, "SECONDS TO FROSTBITE."


 There's an old saying: "Forty-forty-forty."

At forty below zero with forty mph winds, skin freezes in forty seconds.  The weather

report below shows wind chill of minus 44 C which means almost 50 below zero F. 

Note there's no weather advisory!  Care to send kids to school at 50 below?



January 4, 2009   Weather     minus 31F



April 20, 2009 Weather a balmy minus 2 F



 May 25, 2009  all the way up to 23 F!



 Last one.  Spring is here:

June 16, 2009   Low -1C(30F). High 2C(36F)

Heat Wave! 



As cold as it is up there, it is getting warmer.  One aspect of global warming is that it

has been snowing more than it used to.  All the animals, including humans, have

adapted to this climate.  Caribou and musk ox scrape through thin snow cover to

reach the moss and lichen which they subsist on during the long winter.  Where we

live in New England, unusually snowy winters make it difficult for deer to feed.  Would

the same thing happen up north?  Polar bears need the ocean surface frozen to reach the

seals to feed its young.  Less ocean ice will endanger the future of polar bears.





From Durham, Ontario News


North most affected by climate change


" 'All of our accumulated knowledge of the weather patterns are unwritten and has been passed down for generations orally. I do not speak or write any English, so I cannot say I know what they talk about in regards to climate change. But the changes are in our climate. The weather has changed.'- Aqpik, an Inuit Elder, at the Elder’s Conference on Climate Change 2001 in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.


Canada’s Arctic waters aren’t very friendly to shipping. Historically, they are covered in ice that begins forming in October and doesn’t start breaking up until July. Some areas are permanently covered in ice.


In recent years, scientists and the Inuit themselves have noticed changes in this age-old pattern. Far more ice is melting than usually occurs and it isn’t re-forming as early in the fall as it once did. Increasingly, scientists believe global warming is the cause. They believe its impacts are more pronounced at the top of the world than anywhere else in Canada.


According to Environment Canada, the Arctic is warming at a rate that is unprecedented over the past 400 years. At Resolute Bay, near the centre of Nunavut, the average temperature has increased by 1.3ºC since 1969. In the western Canadian Arctic, temperature increases of 5º to 7ºC are predicted. The east is not expected to warm as much. The impact of continual warming in the north would be profound. Rising sea levels, more extreme weather and a loss of sea ice would contribute to more erosion and flooding along vulnerable Arctic shorelines. Higher sea levels with less ice cover would expose more of the coast to both normal waves and more powerful storm waves. This may damage important shoreline nesting areas, possibly killing chicks and eggs.


Loss of sea ice would profoundly affect northern life. Traditional activities like travel, hunting and fishing depend upon the presence of solid sea ice. On the other hand, less ice in the north would extend the shipping season and make access to communities easier by boat.


For wildlife, a decline in food sources could mean the extinction of the high Arctic Peary caribou. Polar bears depend on the sea ice to reach their favourite food, seal. Construction in the north must account for permafrost. The permanently frozen ground is perfect for holding building pilings in place. If melting reaches deeper into the ground, the pilings and buildings would become unstable. "  





What will the climate be like when she grows up?







  I hope that  you enjoyed this tour of the Arctic.

I also got some tremendous opportunities for

video, which hopefully (after about 6 to 9 months

of editing by Helen Blazis)  will air on New England

cable channels:






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