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News from February 2002

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New website on Greenland
Sisimiut Museum, Greenland, have officially opened a website with links regarding culture in Greenland named 'Culture Greenland'. The site is in English, Greenlandic and Danish. The english version can be found at www.culture.gl. The site also contains a 'National Picture Database of Greenland'. (February 28, 2002)
Culture Greenland


Cancer kills Beluga whales
Researchers have found that over a quarter of all deaths of endangered adult beluga whales in Canada's Saint Lawrence Estuary are caused by cancer. The Beluga whales live entirely in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Veterinary pathologists claim that industrial pollution is the most likely cause of the high cancer rates. (February 28, 2002)
NewScientist

Scientists need information from locals
Scientists participating in a seminar in Greenland suggest that local contactpersons in Greenland in the future help collect information about caribou, musk oxen and what they eat. This is to be ready if the vegetation in an area is threatened. (February 28, 2002)
KNR (in danish only)

Melting polar dinosaur mysteries
The first indication that there even were such a thing as polar dinosaurs came in 1960 when footprints were found at Spitzbergen, an island half way between the coast of Norway and the North Pole. Since the initial discovery, the study of polar dinosaurs has slowly gained momentum. Read an exiting article that sums up the story of the polar dinosaurs. (February 26, 2002)
Background articles

Scientists study Arctic crater
Scientists are studying the Haughton Crater in the Canadian Arctic. The crater, which was formed when an asteroid struck Devon Island 24 million years ago, has many geological features similar to Mars. One scientist tags along to study the other scientists - he is trying to figure out ways that computers and other devices can be used to help astronauts explore Mars. (February 26, 2002)
Polar News

Drastic fall in eider population
A new scientific report released by Greenland Institute of Natural Sciences concludes that the population of breeding eiders in the central and northern part of Western Greenland has gone back 80 percent in the last 40 years. Greenland Institiute of Natural Sciences says that the hunting should be cut back 50 percent in order to avoid further falls in the population. (February 26, 2002)
KNR (in Danish only)

Sharks take over Alaskan Waters
An American scientist studying shark population dynamics in Alaska has discovered that the number of sharks in the Alaskan waters has increased considerably, possibly due to environmental changes and human activities such as fishing. The growing number of sharks are feeding on seals and sea lions causing a decline in the number of these populations. (February 21, 2002)
ScienceDaily

Vegetation declining
Greenland Institute of Natural Resources says that the number of musk oxes and reindeers is larger than previously thought. The high number of musk ox and reindeer eating grass and the like may soon cause the vegetation to decline. 15 scientist are meeting on a seminar to try and come up with a solution to the problem. (February 21, 2002)
KNR (in Danish only)

Safe Routes to South Pole
Using satellite images and software, researchers at the Ohio State University are mappping land routes across the Antarctic which could make it safer and easier to transport equipment and supplies to the South Pole. (February 21, 2002)
Newswise

B-15A in its death throes
The American scientist MacAyeal says that collisions between the giant iceberg called B-15A and a much smaller, though still impressive, iceberg, dubbed C-16, have begun the proces of breaking up the bigger berg. He suspects B-15A will crumble into pieces and drift northward away from McMurdo Sound when summer returns to Antarctica, almost a year from now. (February 19, 2002)
NSF press release or ScienceDaily

Warming trend in Southern Ocean
Using an armada of marine robots a scientist have discovered a warming trend in the Southern Ocean over the last 50 years. In fact the climatically sensitive region including the Southern Ocean is warming faster than the rest of the world's oceans. Read about the potential implications of the warming. (February 19, 2002)
Scripps News

Sea level rises underestimated
Scientists examining the rate at which glaciers and ice caps are melting say that other scientists may have underestimated the likely rise in sea levels this century. 'The IPCC thinks there will be an increase in sea levels by 2100 of 5-11 cm due to glacier melt alone - we think it will be nearer 17-27 cm', said one of the scientists involved in the research. (February 19, 2002)
Nature or BBC

Arctic University online
After several months of planning University of the Arctic launches its first internet-based course for 27 students in Greenland, Canada, Russia and Finland. The university itself is based in Finland, but several Arctic universities have participated in the planning and realization of the internet-besed university courses. (February 14, 2002)
KNR (in Danish only)

Consequences of an ice-free Arctic
Over the past century, the extent of the winter pack ice in the Nordic Seas has decreased by about 25%. Last winter the Bering Sea was effectively ice-free, which is unprecedented. Some say the formerly ice-locked Arctic will have open sea lanes by 2015. Science a GoGo speculates about some of the other consequences an ice-free Arctic could bring. (February 14, 2002)
Science a GoGo

Arctic Field Ecology
One section of Arctic Field Ecology is being offered this summer between 25 June and 21 July, 2002. This is an exiting course that involves a multidisciplinary team of ecologists and Inuit collaborators. A once in a lifetime experience focused on the exitement of discovery in the remote tundra wilderness of the Alaskan Arctic. (February 14, 2002)
Read information online or download the complete information packet (pdf)

Whales are scared off
Bowhead whales and belugas in the Beaufort Sea are scared off by seismic surveys. The whales are fleeing the areas near the coast where they normally feed during summer. Therefore Inuvialuit in the western Canadian Arctic have taken the initiative to establish a permanently protected area in the Beaufort Sea. (February 12, 2002)
KNR (in Danish only)

Barents Sea cleanest?
Russian scientists claim that the waters off the northwestern coast of Russia are clean. In spite of many concerns about pollution and contamination, the scientists maintain the Barents Sea, off the coast of Norway and western Siberia, still ranks among the cleanest in the circumpolar region. (February 12, 2002)
Nunatsiaq News

Meet C-17
NIC (The National Ice Center) have discovered an iceberg newly calved from the Matusevich Glacier Tongue in Antarctica. The Matusevich Glacier Tongue is a large extension of the Matusevich Glacier from the Antarctic mainland into the northwestern Ross Sea. This new iceberg has been named C-17. (February 12, 2002)
NIC press release
New window on whales
Thanks to a scientific breakthrough by Australian scientists whales do not have to be killed to be studied in the future. The scientists developed a DNA analysis method, sifting through the animals' waste to examine the stomach contents. (January 7, 2002)
BBC or Discovery

Seal cams probe Antarctic
In the news archive for January 2002 there is a story on Weddell seals 'spying' under water for scientists at Antarctica. Read the story here. But how is it practically possible to fit a camera on to the head of a seal and making it stick for up to six days at a time? Read all about it or hunt and swim with a seal under the Antarctic ice. (January 7, 2002)
Article and video from WiredNews

Scientific data from Greenland
GEUS (The Geological survey of Denmark and Greenland) has recently released two CD-rom products with data from Greenland. One of them contains a geochemical atlas of West and South Greenland based on sediment data. The other contains geophysical data in the shape of magnetic and electromagnetic measurements from a five-year programme. (January 7, 2002)
GEUS
Eiders threatened by extinction
A new survey conducted by Greenland Institute of Natural Resources shows that eiders in West Greenland are close to being extinct. The survey, which documents drastic falls in breeding populations, sends out clear signals that the present exploration of eiders is far from sustainable. (February 5, 2002)
KNR (in Danish only)

Scientists: Media goof
The scientists behind a recent study implying that Antarctica is getting colder says that the media interpreted their results incorrectly. They claim that since global warming is a hot political topic, some news reports have oversimplified or confused the issue. Read a case study on 'the difficulties associated with communicating information about climate change to the public'. (February 5, 2002)
SF Chronicle

GEUS gets cost-cutting axe
GEUS (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland) gets the cost-cutting axe in the newly approved budget. This means that GEUS will have 15% or 7 million kroner less to spend on activities in Greenland until 2005. A practical consequence of the cost-cutting is less field activity. (February 5, 2002)
KNR (in Danish only)

Shrimps can hear food coming
A team of scientists have studied the ability of deepwater shrimp, Pandalus borealis, caught in the Arctic, to detect sound. The results show that the shrimps can probably detect a dead animal hitting the seafloor, depending on its size, from as far away as up to 1,6 km. Other deep-sea critters are likely to have the same abilities. (January 31, 2002)
Discovery

New martian rocks discovered
Scientists have found five new Martian meteorites on expeditions to Antarctica and the hot deserts of Oman and the Sahara. Scientists are fascinated by the rocks because they contain chemical clues about martian history and the possibility that the planet once possessed oceans of water and life. (January 31, 2002)
BBC

Background articles

On polar dinosaurs from National Gepgraphic

On how to predict Antarctica's climate from UniSci

On phytoplankton from The Guardian

On the northernmost island of the world from dpc.dk

On a lake disappearing into crack in Earth from National Geographic

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Updated May 2, 2002
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