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News stories tagged with "arctic"

A Willow Ptarmigan along eastern Lake Ontario. The sighting this week is a first for New York State.  Photo: Jeff Bolsinger.
A Willow Ptarmigan along eastern Lake Ontario. The sighting this week is a first for New York State. Photo: Jeff Bolsinger.

Willow Ptarmigan becomes an avian celebrity near Watertown

Carloads of birders from across the region have visited the shore of Lake Ontario, near Watertown, over the last few days hoping to glimpse a rare avian visitor from the Arctic tundra.

Late last week, Eugene Nichols was birding near Point Peninsula and found an all white bird that didn't belong in northern New York. Nichols contacted Jeff Bolsinger, a bird biologist at Fort Drum, who confirmed that it's a Willow Ptarmigan. Bolsinger says the bird normally lives only in northern Canada and Alaska. He says the sighting this week is the first documented sighting of a Willow Ptarmigan in New York State, and the second recorded in the lower 48 states in a century.

Bolsinger told Todd Moe he's not sure how the bird ended up this far south, but it's become an instant celebrity in the birding community.  Go to full article
Snowy Owl  (photo: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Snowy Owl (photo: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

A rare, winter visitor from the Arctic

Snowy owls from the arctic tundra are showing up in northern states this winter. More than two dozen sightings of the large, stoic owls have been reported from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario since October.

Todd Moe talks with Lake Placid birder Larry Master, an expert on owls, about Snowy Owls and other owl visitors from further north this time of year.  Go to full article
Increased erosion in Shishmaref is caused by sea level rise, more intense storms, and permafrost melting. Photo taken by the Shishmaref Relocation Coalition.
Increased erosion in Shishmaref is caused by sea level rise, more intense storms, and permafrost melting. Photo taken by the Shishmaref Relocation Coalition.

Climate change changing the seasons for Native Alaskans

Yesterday, we reported that Arctic sea ice is melting faster than scientists (already alarmed at its disappearance) had expected. The National Snow and Ice Data Center says the rate has accelerated to 11.7% per decade.

That is far too fast for Native Americans who live along the Artic ice, on permafrost that's also thawing rapidly. Environmental biologist Jon Rosales teaches at St. Lawrence University. He spent this past spring getting a first hand look at effects of climate change in northern Alaska. He visited three villages on the Seward Peninsula, the part of Alaska that reaches west toward Siberia. It is our end of what used to be the land bridge between the two continents. He told Martha Foley that even in late spring, he says, the snow was horizontal. But, still, everything is too warm.  Go to full article

Sea ice melting faster than expected

A NASA study finds that Arctic ice is melting faster than expected. Mark Brush reports.  Go to full article
Polar bears on sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Photo courtesy of Jessica K Robertson, USGS
Polar bears on sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Photo courtesy of Jessica K Robertson, USGS

The polar bear?s future

Studies from NASA and many other U-S agencies report the Arctic ice is melting at a rapid rate. Scientists say it's the most visible and dramatic evidence of global warming. One of the symbols of climate change in the Arctic is the polar bear. Lester Graham talked with the senior polar bear scientist with the U-S Geological Survey, Steven Amstrup, about the future of the bear.  Go to full article

Arctic summer of fire and ice

The Arctic is melting this summer. But, that melting is not as severe as it could be. Lester Graham reports a haze filters out some of the sun's rays.  Go to full article
Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service
Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service

Open water in the arctic

Polar bear researchers off Alaska's northern coast found striking differences in sea ice conditions recently. Lori Townsend reports.  Go to full article
Dr. George Hobson
Dr. George Hobson

An enduring mystery: the Franklin Expedition

For centuries, nations sent ships in search of the elusive Northwest Passage, a short-cut to Asia through the ice-laden seas above Canada. Perhaps the most famous attempt was led by Sir John Franklin, an experienced explorer left who England on his third Arctic expedition in 1845. With a crew of 129 volunteers, he set out in two specially-outfitted ships, with enough provisions to last for at least three years. They never returned. Over time, tantalizing clues emerged: a brief message, left in a stone tower, stating Franklin died in 1847. Oral accounts from natives who encountered sick and dying foreigners. The possibility of cannibalism, which shocked Victorian sensibilities. A modern exhumation of three frozen graves suggesting bodies and minds had been affected by lead poisoning from improperly tinned food. The hunt for evidence and answers continues to this day.

Retired geophysicist and Arctic researcher Dr. George Hobson has spent decades studying the Franklin Expedition. These days, he's a popular speaker on tourist expeditions to Beechy Island and other points of Arctic interest. Hobson will give a lecture Wednesday night in Manotick, Ontario. Ottawa correspondent Lucy Martin chatted with him among a local library's collection of books about Franklin and his fate.  Go to full article

Sea ice melting faster than predicted

New research shows Arctic sea ice is melting much faster than predicted by computer models. Rebecca Williams reports the researchers say that could accelerate the impacts of global warming.  Go to full article

Inuit tell of warming Arctic

The Arctic is among the regions hit hardest by early climate change. Inuit artists from Nunavut, Labrador and other Arctic territories are eyewitnesses to warmer winters. They gather in Ottawa twice a year for meetings of the Inuit Art Foundation. Lucy Martin spent an afternoon with the artists last April. They told her their lives are already changing. Note: The Inuit Art Foundation artists return to Ottawa for their "Arts Alive" celebration this Saturday, April 21, from 10 to 4.  Go to full article

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