Nipped fingers and handfuls of guano will be the order of the day for wildlife rangers on the Farne Islands as they embark on an epic census on Friday to discover whether puffin numbers have plummeted after a year of extreme weather.
AMAP is one of five Working Groups of the Arctic Council.
The primary function of AMAP is to advise the governments of the eight Arctic countries (Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States) on matters relating to threats to the Arctic region from pollution, and associated issues.
Most beautiful landscape video of Iceland ever? I’ve posted countless videos of Iceland before, but this one is amazing. If it had an eruption like on Stiegemeier’s video this would definitely be on top.
This was shot in June of 2011 while the videographer, Joe Capra, traveled around Iceland:
For 17 days I traveled solo around the entire island shooting almost 24 hours, sleeping in the car, and eating whenever I had the time. During my days shooting this film I shot 38,000 images, traveled some 2900 miles, and saw some of the most amazing, beautiful, and indescribable landscapes on the planet. Iceland is absolutely one of the most beautiful and unusual places you could ever imagine. Especially during the Midnight Sun when the quality of light hitting the landscape is very unusual, and very spectacular.
Iceland is a landscape photographers paradise and playground, and should be number 1 on every photographers must visit list. Iceland during the Midnight Sun is in sort of a permanent state of sunset. The sun never full sets and travels horizontally across the horizon throughout the night, as can be seen in the opening shot and at the :51 second mark in the video.
In a confusing Press Release, the United Nations urges countries to protect AND develop the Arctic as glaciers and ice melt. On the one hand, the PR urges stronger legal and environmental regulations. On the other, it urges northern countries to cooperate as they exploit the Arctic’s vast resources of oil, gas, minerals, and fish: “the Arctic Council …is formed by Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US has a crucial role to play in ensuring any resource exploitation is done responsibly.”
Whale oil to fuel whaling ships is a gruesome and surreal proposition
An Icelandic whaler, Kristján Loftsson, is powering his whaling ships using “biofuel” composed of 80% diesel – and 20% whale oil. Loftsson claims the oil is additionally friendly to the environment as it is rendered out of whale blubber using heat from Iceland’s volcanic vents.
The story might seem a bizarre development even in the Alice in Wonderland world of modern whaling, where Japanese whaling fleets claim to be conducting “scientific research” and the US, while striking a vehemently anti-whaling stance, nonetheless supports aboriginal hunting of bowhead whales that might otherwise live as long as 200 years.
I poked around the New Scientist’s new interactive climate change map. Pretty neat. The maps show the average temperature changes by location, and average temperature change over time. Data is scraped from NASA databases. There are better, more complex maps out there, but this one is easy to understand.
The graphs and maps all show changes relative to average temperatures for the three decades from 1951 to 1980, the earliest period for which there was sufficiently good coverage for comparison. This gives a consistent view of climate change across the globe. To put these numbers in context, the NASA team estimates that the global average temperature for the 1951-1980 baseline period was about 14 °C.
“This ice cave is on the edge of the glacier where it enters into an lagoon near Svínafellsjökull. It is only possible to access it when the lagoon is frozen. Ice caves are in general unstable things and can collapse at any time. They are however much more stable in winter when the cold temperatures harden the ice. Even so we could hear constant cracking sounds inside the cave. It was not because it was going to collapse but because the cave was moving along with the glacier itself. Each time the glacier moved a millimeter loud sounds could be heard.”
This is in Iceland, which is a short 4-hour flight from Boston. And apparently there are tours.
Video of a glacier literally exploding. It’s called a “jökulhlaup,” a type of glacial flood caused by volcanic or geothermal pressure. An extremely rare event, it’s rarely caught on camera. The above catastrophic jökulhlaup occurred in 2010 when the Eyjafjallajökull erupted.
A jökulhlaup (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈjœːkʏl̥ˌl̥øip]) is a glacial outburst flood. It is an Icelandic term that has been adopted by the English language. It originally referred to the well-known subglacial outburst floods from Vatnajökull, Iceland which are triggered by geothermal heating and occasionally by a volcanic subglacial eruption, but it is now used to describe any large and abrupt release of water from a subglacial or proglacial lake/reservoir.
Since jökulhlaups emerge from hydrostatically-sealed lakes with floating levels far above the threshold, their peak discharge can be much larger than that of a marginal or extra-marginal lake burst. The hydrograph of a jökulhlaup from Vatnajökull typically either climbs over a period of weeks with the largest flow near the end, or it climbs much faster during the course of some hours. These patterns are suggested to reflect channel melting, and sheet flow under the front, respectively.
Similar processes on a very large scale occurred during the deglaciation of North America after the last ice age (e.g. Lake Agassiz), and presumably at earlier times, although the geological record is not well preserved. Via Wikipedia (great entry!)
The glacier Gigjokull, an outlet of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland. On March 20th 2010, just under a year after this was taken, a volcano in the area began to erupt, triggering fears of a jokulhlaup, or glacial outburst flood, from glaciers such as this one and it’s neighbour, Steinholtsjokull.
A much larger jokulhlaup from the Grimsvotn volcano under the Vatnajokull icecap in 1996 washed away a section of the Iceland Ring Road.
On April 14th 2010 a new eruption started even closer to Gigjokull, the glacier in this image, releasing large amounts of ash which caused air traffic over Iceland, the UK and most of northern Europe to be suspended. Additionally rivers in the region have risen as meltwater escapes from the glacier.
Recent photos and video from this glacier suggest that the lake in front of the glacier has filled with ash and sediment, and floodwater is surging down the slope at the sides of the ice.
The U.S. Embassy in Iceland might be 70 people. Europe’s largest presence is France, with only a 20 person embassy. Why would China need one with 500 people?
The answer? Natural resources. Aluminum, rare earth metals, oil, gas, copper, gold, and possibly diamonds are irresistible wealth opportunities in the Arctic region. Melting ice will give way to new mega-mining operations like never seen before.
Then Mr. Degeorges answered his own question about China’s need — or desire — for such a large embassy in Reykjavik: “It gives you the long-term perspective that you can expect in Iceland.”
Everyone is jostling for space in the melting Arctic these days, it seems, as my colleague Elisabeth Rosenthal recently reported. That includes China, which has no Arctic territory.
Yet as the Arctic ice cap melts, it is revealing riches — principally minerals, including important rare earths, but also water, oil and gas. Greenland potentially has up to 10 percent of the world’s freshwater reserves, Mr. Degeorges said.
Oof. Brutally honest, heartbreaking documentary covers recent, very aggressive development in my favorite country in the world, Iceland. Iceland is a short, 4 hour flight from Boston. Flights are comfy and cheap, as are the hotels in the city and chattels out in the country.
Iceland is absolutely spectacular. I travel a lot, but there is simply no comparison. The nicest, most kind and jolly people I’ve ever met, anywhere. Fabulous food (OK, OK. Not fabulous, but tasty for sure). And the landscape is just a pure phenomenon. I cannot write enough drippy words to describe how beautiful Iceland is, nor say enough about how kind and warmhearted Icelanders are.
This film, this documentary called “Dreamland” really got to me tonight. It’s tough being an environmentalist, you know, on a daily basis. Hope is fleeting. Results are off in the far distance. And my fellow enviros (bless their hearts) are like fundamentalists bent on avoiding self-reflection.
I think environmentalism is like a sloppy relay race, where each runner is dependent on the other. It’s a team sport with few heroes. Once one leg of the race is won, the next person picks up the baton and runs their lap.
After watching this, I’m left feeling let down by my team…
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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