The ice plays such a pivotal role in both Greenlandic culture and our plans to sail North that we decided to devote a page to it. We’ve been keeping an eye on conditions before we depart this year. Below are some ice charts from the Danish Meteorological Institute which are interesting to compare. It’s clear that the ice has already started to recede but not that much. Although the pattern changes year on year it will start to rapidly recede throughout the Summer before starting to expand again in September.
FEB 10th 2019 MAY 5th 2019
AUG 22nd 2018 OCT 21st 2018
A country undergoing a transformation, both culturally and environmentally, that in many ways magnifies challenges faced in our own society. Because of the amplified warming observed at the poles, the Arctic is considered to be at the face of climate change, underpinned by a slow but constant melting of the polar sea ice.
Ice has played a prominent role in the history of our planet and its living communities for millennia. For those of us living in more temperate environments ice comes in and out of our lives. Ephemeral in nature. For Greenlanders, the Arctic region in general and its wildlife, the ice is ever present and has left an indelible mark on their culture and way of life.
In the 1980s, satellite data showed the Arctic sea ice extended nearly three million square miles at the end of summer. Since then more than a million square miles has been lost – an area roughly the size of Alaska, Texas and California combined. By the 2050’s, forecasters say, the sea ice that covers most of the Arctic will be reduced to a strip above Greenland and Canada.
On the coast of Greenland, reduced frozen sea ice has led to significant changes in hunting, fishing and dog sled transport, and sled dog numbers plummeting by 60% in the last 10 years. When this sea ice goes, the doors to the Arctic will be open, meaning shipping, fishing, and oil and gas development may intrude.
As we travel Northward visiting many small outposts, while carefully avoiding calved iceberg as they caravan south, we will explore how these environmental changes impact everyday lives in the region.