Portal:Arctic

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Introduction


The Arctic is the region around the Earth's North Pole, opposite the Antarctic region around the South Pole. The Arctic includes the Arctic Ocean (which overlies the North Pole) and parts of Canada, Greenland (a territory of Denmark), Russia, the United States (Alaska), Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The word Arctic comes from the Greek word arktos (άρκτος) , which means bear. The name refers to the constellation Ursa Major, the "Great Bear", which dominates the northern region of the celestial sphere.

There are numerous definitions of the Arctic region. The boundary is generally considered to be north of the Arctic Circle (66° 33’N), which is the approximate limit of the midnight sun and the polar night. Other definitions are based on climate and ecology, such as the 10°C (50°F) July isotherm, which roughly corresponds to the tree line in most of the Arctic. Socially and politically, the Arctic region includes the northern territories of the eight Arctic states, including Lapland, although by natural science definitions much of this territory is considered subarctic.

The Arctic region consists of a vast ice-covered ocean (which is sometimes considered to be a northern arm of the Atlantic Ocean) surrounded by treeless, frozen ground. In recent years the extent of the ice pack has declined, with a record summer low set in 2012, and the lowest winter maximum set in 2016.

Life in the Arctic includes organisms living in the ice, zooplankton and phytoplankton, fish and marine mammals, birds, land animals such as polar bears, plants, and human societies.

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S. A. Andrée and Knut Frænkel with the crashed balloon on the pack ice, photographed by the third expedition member, Nils Strindberg. The exposed film for this photograph and others from the failed 1897 expedition was recovered in 1930.
S. A. Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 was an ill-fated effort to reach the North Pole in which all three expedition members perished. S. A. Andrée (1854–97),[1] the first Swedish balloonist, proposed a voyage by hydrogen balloon from Svalbard to either Russia or Canada, which was to pass, with luck, straight over the North Pole on the way. The scheme was received with patriotic enthusiasm in Sweden, a northern nation that had fallen behind in the race for the North Pole.

Andrée neglected many early signs of the dangers associated with his balloon plan. Being able to steer the balloon to some extent was essential for a safe journey, and there was plenty of evidence that the drag-rope steering technique he had invented was ineffective; yet he staked the fate of the expedition on drag ropes. Worse, the polar balloon Örnen (Eagle) was delivered directly to Svalbard from its manufacturer in Paris without being tested; when measurements showed it to be leaking more than expected, Andrée refused to acknowledge the alarming implications of this. Most modern students of the expedition see Andrée's optimism, faith in the power of technology, and disregard for the forces of nature as the main factors in the series of events that led to his death and the deaths of his two companions Nils Strindberg (1872–97) and Knut Frænkel (1870–97).[2]

Selected biography

Roald Amundsen
Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈɾuːɑl ˈɑmʉnsən]), (July 16, 1872 – c. June 18, 1928) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He led the first Antarctic expedition to reach the South Pole between 1910 and 1912. He was also the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. He is known as the first to traverse the Northwest Passage. He disappeared in June 1928 while taking part in a rescue mission. With Douglas Mawson, Robert Falcon Scott, and Ernest Shackleton, Amundsen was a key expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

In 1903, Amundsen led the first expedition to successfully traverse the Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (something explorers had been attempting since the days of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, Jacques Cartier, and Henry Hudson), with six others in a 47 ton steel seal hunting vessel, Gjøa.

In the news

Wikinews Arctic portal
  • April 25: UK announces £200 million polar research ship
  • September 4: Wikinews Shorts: September 2, 2010
  • September 3: Wikinews Shorts: September 3, 2010/Fuel tanker aground in Northwest Passage
  • June 21: Greenland assumes self rule Sunday
  • January 10: Canadian trio claim South Pole record for trans-Antarctic trip
  • December 10: Wikinews Shorts: December 10, 2008
  • October 28: Arctic ice thickness decreasing, suggests satellite data study
  • August 28: 73M-year-old fossilized fish found in Canada
  • August 27: Canadian military exercise NANOOK 2008 travels through uncharted waters
  • June 28: The North Pole may possibly be ice free by summer
Current events on Wikinews

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Seehund (Phoca vitulina)

Description: Seehund (Phoca vitulina)

Author: Marcel Burkhard

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Quotation

  • O proudly name their names who bravely sail

To seek brave lost in Arctic snows and seas!

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Greenland
Panoramic view of 'Bodø' is a city and municipality in the county of Nordland, Norway.. Photo credit Lars Røed Hansen

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References

  1. ^ Andrée, christened Salomon August, invariably went by his initials as an adult.
  2. ^ This assessment is discussed in several contexts in Vår position är ej synnerligen god… by Andrée specialist Sven Lundström, curator of the Andreexpedition Polarcenter in Gränna, Sweden (see for example p. 131).
  3. ^ Northwest Territories Official Languages Act, 1988 (as amended 1988, 1991-1992, 2003)
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