Arctic welcome home: Return of the Sun

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(click photo for video!) It is soldagen, or Sun Day, here in Tromsø, Norway, far above the Arctic Circle. Last time folks here saw the sun was mid November, and there is great anticipation on this clear frigid day, especially … Continue reading

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More radio interviews

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Many Americans seem to be waking up to the reality and threats of both climate change and the poisoning of the Arctic Ocean, with NPR, The Weather Channel and even conservative talk-radio shows eager to discuss the various topics I … Continue reading

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Weather Channel article

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As word spreads about my climate change project as a Fulbright Scholar, so does media coverage.  Here is a link to a recent article about my work and photography posted on The Weather Channel’s website. CLICK BELOW TO VIEW ARTICLE … Continue reading

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My NPR interview, traveling exhibit and lecture show

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More and more Americans are becoming concerned about the fate of the Arctic and how it relates to their own actions and future.  With growing concern comes increased media coverage. Link to my interview of December 9, 2013 on NPR’s … Continue reading

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VIDEO REPRISE: Thin ice

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This video joins fifteen scientists and divers as they sail from the Svalbard archipelago toward the North Pole aboard the Norwegian Polar Institute’s research vessel, RV Lance, monitoring disruptions in the Arctic marine ecosystem due to climate change. (For details, … Continue reading

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In the beginning… there were protists

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It is perhaps fitting that my four-month journey across the Norwegian Arctic should end at the beginning… of life, that is. I am traveling aboard the Norwegian Polar Institute’s research ship, R/V Lance, with a team of marine microbiologists and … Continue reading

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Thin ice: Uncharted waters of climate change

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“What you are looking at,” laments marine biologist Haakon Hop of the Norwegian Polar Institute, “is the melting of the Arctic Ocean.” We are nearing 82 degrees North latitude aboard the research ship R/V Lance, just 800 kilometers (500 miles) … Continue reading

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At sea on research ship

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I am currently aboard the R/V Lance for the MOSJ-ICE cruise, which travels from Longyearbyen to Rijpfjorden sampling plankton, ocean currents and water temperatures and will continue as far northward from Svalbard as possible to anchor on ice. Due to … Continue reading

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VIDEO: Toxins, the other Arctic nemesis

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While climate change steals the headlines, scientists at the Ny-Ålesund science village on Spitsbergen Island have devoted much of their attention for many years researching an equally serious threat to Arctic ecosystems: toxins, transported by wind and ocean currents from … Continue reading

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VIDEO REPRISE: Seabird diaries

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Six-minute video of scientists working on ladders along sheer cliffs and explaining their research at the Blomstrandøya kittiwake colony near Ny-Ålesund on Spitsbergen Island in the High Arctic. See previous post, Seabird diaries: Science on the rocks, for more details. … Continue reading

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Seabird diaries: Science on the rocks

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“This is where a huge boulder wiped out a big part of our trail a few days ago,” says Dagfinn Breivik Skomsø as I puff behind him, climbing hundreds of meters up a sixty degree slope to his study site. … Continue reading

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VIDEO REPRISE: On the brink

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This brief video perches readers atop the precipitous cliffs of Spitsbergen Island where two field assistants snag Brünnich’s guillemots from narrow ledges to track the health of a breeding colony.  (For more details on their work, see  On the brink: … Continue reading

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On the brink: Life as a field assistant

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Want a two-month summer job that’s ten hours a day, seven days a week, perched atop sheer cliffs in freezing rain snaring seabirds off narrow ledges? Then this job’s for you: field assistant for the Norwegian Polar Institute in Ny-Ålesund, … Continue reading

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VIDEO REPRISE: Mother Goose

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This short video reviews the work of Dutch research biologist, Margje de Jong, as Mother Goose of the Arctic, tracking growth differences in barnacle geese as she hand-raises them to measure the effects of degraded grazing lands.  (For details behind … Continue reading

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Mother goose as scientist

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“Oh look,” exclaims a visitor standing on the main road into the Ny-Ålesund science village on Spitsbergen Island, “they think she’s their mother!” The scene she beholds is admittedly endearing, but it’s all about science. Ten downy goslings, stubby winglets … Continue reading

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Sysselmannen: Svalbard guardians

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“We are the face of the governor’s office,” says Cecilie Sørensen, one of two regional field inspectors based in Ny-Ålesund. She and her field partner, Ragnhild Røsseland, hold two of six coveted summer positions for which more than 100 outdoorsmen … Continue reading

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VIDEO REPRISE: Return of the terns

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A short video takes viewers behind the scenes to see how Dutch biologists capture, measure and tag Arctic terns in Svalbard to study their amazing annual roundtrip between Antarctica and the Arctic, during which they log over 80,000 kilometers, the … Continue reading

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Return of the terns

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The Dutch research station at Ny-Ålesund is no fly-by-night operation, especially when it comes to Arctic terns, who literally fly to the ends of the Earth to avoid darkness.  As world record holders for long-distance migration, these terns bask in … Continue reading

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VIDEO: Glacier spectacular… breaking the ice

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There are times when nature’s forces overwhelm and leave one viscerally stunned, struggling to fully comprehend what just occurred. Watching a glacier calve huge blocks of ice into the sea is not usually in that category. It is exciting, to … Continue reading

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VIDEO: Taking a break on an iceberg

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Reporting on climate change in the Arctic is serious business, but sometimes you just gotta have fun and relax a bit. Getting marooned on an iceberg in the middle of the Barents Sea is a good start. (Photo of me … Continue reading

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When bird scientists bear all

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Everyone wants to see a polar bear when they come to the Arctic. It’s only natural, and great bragging rights. They are magnificent creatures, an ursine version of the Terminator, practically unstoppable, even with bullets, and they find humans just … Continue reading

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Ny-Ålesund: Arctic science for all

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Three months after visiting in the grips of winter, I am back in Ny-Ålesund (Svalbard) in the High North above the 78th latitude. The landscape has dramatically changed since mid April (see earlier posting, Science base: It takes a village) … Continue reading

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VIDEO REPRISE: Seeking the Arctic skua

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This short video tags along with three biologists who capture Arctic skuas to fit them with GPS loggers and track their migration. Their study has revealed surprising new data indicating that skuas from Norway’s Svalbard archipelago do not all migrate … Continue reading

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Senja Island: Currents of change

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Senja, the southernmost extent of my Arctic coverage, is the second largest island in Norway and known for its rugged landscape and independent people. Until a decade ago, many of its remote fishing villages were accessible only by boat, but … Continue reading

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VIDEO: Cod fishing in the Barents Sea

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While I have reported on fisheries and dramatic changes in the Barents Sea in some of my other postings, a picture’s worth a thousand words, so I’ll let the video do the talking! (see other videos by clicking the VIDEO … Continue reading

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Climate change: Going bananas in Greenland

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Seven years ago, the Wall Street Journal ran a front page article datelined Greenland, July 18th, celebrating the warming Arctic climate in terms of increased food production and a steadily lengthening growing season. Retreating glaciers were creating new reindeer pastures, … Continue reading

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Lecture in Austria: Congratz from Graz

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Just back in Norway from Austria, where I was invited by the Karl Franzens-University of Graz through the Fulbright Intercountry Lecturer Program as a speaker and panelist at a two-day symposium called, “Visual Cultures: From the Local to the Global.” … Continue reading

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Tromsø: City life, ducks and geopolitics

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After six weeks of solid travel, I have arrived in Tromsø, a town bustling with shops, restaurants and cultural activities– and headquarters of my host institution, the Norwegian Polar Institute. Reporting since mid April from a remote science base, a … Continue reading

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Kirkenes: Borderlands, friends and foes

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It all ends here. And it all starts here– with mind-blowing facts and historical contradictions. Norway’s Russian border, defined largely by one river, Grense Jakobselv near the town of Kirkenes, as well as by the island town of Vardø at … Continue reading

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Barents Liberation Army: Hip hooray for 17th of May

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“Hip hurra for syttende mai!,” is the cheer heard throughout Norway on this day, the equivalent of America’s July 4th. It is National Day, and Norwegians celebrate their 1814 constitution in grand style.  No military bombast and no fireworks, just … Continue reading

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Honningsvåg: Rites of passage

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From the moment I arrive in Honningsvåg, I see this is a visit about passages. I already have lots of landscape pictures of North Cape, northernmost point in Europe (see North Cape in Archived Photo Galleries tab)  but this to … Continue reading

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Hammerfest: At the crossroads

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Hammerfest, northernmost town in the world, is at the crossroads of past and future, from vestiges of the fiery annihilation of northern Norway during the Nazi retreat, to the world’s first subsea natural gas well and liquefaction plant in the … Continue reading

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Hurtigruten: Fast Route to the Midnight Sun

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Traveling by cruise ship from the dark nights of the Lofoten Islands to the endless daylight of the midnight sun along the northernmost coast of mainland Europe, I am back in the Arctic Ocean. With roots as a coastal steamship … Continue reading

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Coast Guard: Anchors aweigh!

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A week aboard the Norwegian Coast Guard frigate, K/V Andenes, has taken me southward 1125 kilometers (700 miles) across the Greenland Sea from the High Arctic of Svalbard (with a stopover at the weather station on Bear Island, most southerly … Continue reading

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Longyearbyen snapshots

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As I leave the town of Longyearbyen aboard a Coast Guard ship bound for the Lofoten Islands, snapshots of  Svalbard life play through my mind… kids riding bikes on snow and ice, a high school parking lot filled with nothing … Continue reading

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Ice caving & dog sledding

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Aside from coal and the University Centre, which specializes in Arctic studies, tourism is a major revenue earner in Longyearbyen.  From snowmobiling to dog sledding to ice caving,  Spitsbergen Travel (www.spitsbergentravel.com) is an easy one-stop-shop for accessing and arranging tours … Continue reading

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Svalbard ski marathons

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Each year, over 700 enthusiasts come from all over Europe (and even Australia!) to participate in the world’s most northerly ski marathon.  With guards posted at intervals carrying rifles to protect against polar bears, it may also be the world’s … Continue reading

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Birds-ice-view

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From high above, springtime in Svalbard appears as a solid sheet of snow and ice– hardly an inviting place to build your nest and breed.  But when 24-hour sunlight returns to the Arctic, birds don’t wait.  During my last two … Continue reading

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Reindeer count

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The biggest predator of reindeer is climate and starvation, not polar bears.  As the climate wavers in the Arctic, alternate periods of  rain and freeze encase tundra forage in an impenetrable layer of ice.  Terrestrial ecologists Åshild Pedersen from the … Continue reading

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On the ice edge

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Ice physicist Sebastian Gerland and marine chemist Agneta Fransson of the Norwegian Polar Institute work with marine chemist Melissa Chierici of the Institute of Marine Research atop fjord ice below an outlet glacier.  They core the ice to measure ice … Continue reading

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Glacier with a view

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Speeding by snowmobile across Kongsvegen Glacier on Spitsbergen island, Norwegian Polar Institute glaciologist Jack Kohler and his team core snow high atop glaciers, focus GPS positioning points, and update instrumentation and poles staked deep into the ice that track glacial … Continue reading

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Science base: It takes a village

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When it comes to the complexities of climate research, it DOES take a village.  By a coincidence of history and location, the former coal mining town of Ny-Ålesund provides a remote international science base for the interaction of different sciences … Continue reading

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Climate research: Miss Piggy takes off

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German and French climatologists of the combined AWIPEV Institutes at the Ny-Ålesund science base probe the atmosphere with all the tools at their disposal, from weather balloons soaring 30 kilometers high, to airplanes flying a few thousand meters up, to … Continue reading

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Touchdown

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After passing through Oslo and Tromsø and traveling non-stop to Svalbard, the first day of this huge project is spent in the village of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen island, where I wait one day on the way to the science base … Continue reading

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Countdown

The clock ticks down on the start of my large project as a Fulbright Scholar in the Norwegian Arctic exploring science, technology, culture and tourism in the context of climate change and shifting paradigms in the Arctic Ocean.

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