After a quarter century living and working in the Arctic, it continues to take our breath away on a regular basis. Mostly it’s the wildlife: a stupendous aggregation of migrating Sandhill cranes or caribou, a beach overflowing with fur seals, a close up encounter with a wolverine. Other times it could be a phenomenal display of northern lights.
But sometimes the news impinges on that wonderment. Increasingly, we read reports of previously unimaginable levels of melting Arctic sea ice or the arrival of new vessels and industries in the fabled and treacherous waters north of Alaska and Canada.
The effects of the climate-related changes are often acutely visible – whether female walrus and their calves crowded on remote shorelines in the tens of thousands, polar bears wandering through coastal villages rather than staying on the retreating summer ice, or the 1000-passenger Crystal Serenity cruise ship that now glides through once-frozen Arctic waters.
Yet some of the changes are less obvious to our land-based senses.
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Photo credits: Banner | William Halliday © WCS Canada