Rovaniemi, Finland
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Uusikivi J.,University of Helsinki | Vahatalo A.V.,University of Helsinki | Granskog M.A.,Arctic Center | Granskog M.A.,Norwegian Polar Institute | Sommaruga R.,University of Innsbruck
Limnology and Oceanography | Year: 2010

In the Baltic Sea ice, the spectral absorption coefficients for particulate matter (PM) were about two times higher at ultraviolet wavelengths than at photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) wavelengths. PM absorption spectra included significant absorption by mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) between 320 and 345 nm. In the surface ice layer, the concentration of MAAs (1.37 μg L -1) was similar to that of chlorophyll a, resulting in a MAAs-to-chlorophyll a ratio as high as 0.65. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) intensity and the ratio of UVR to PAR had a strong relationship with MAAs concentration (R 2 = 0.97, n = 3) in the ice. In the surface ice layer, PM and especially MAAs dominated the absorption (absorption coefficient at 325 nm: 0.73 m -1). In the columnar ice layers, colored dissolved organic matter was the most significant absorber in the UVR (< 380 nm) (absorption coefficient at 325 nm: 1.5 m -1). Our measurements and modeling of UVR and PAR in Baltic Sea ice show that organic matter, both particulate and dissolved, influences the optical properties of sea ice and strongly modifies the UVR exposure of biological communities in and under snow-free sea ice. © 2010, by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc.

Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Humanities | Award Amount: | Year: 1999

For Europeans the traditional historiography of Northern Russia (1400-1700) is focussed on trade, the Northeast Passage and whaling. Russian historians are interested in trady history and the emergence of capitalism. Until now, almost no attention was given to the cultural and socio-economical change the Saami, Nenets and Pomores experienced because of the European-Russian trade contacts. Therefore this research is focussed on these changes. Using written and material sources the cultural and socio-economical changes of the local societies in Northern Russia are studied against a background of climatological and ecological changes.

Sinisalo A.,Arctic Center | Moore J.C.,Arctic Center | Moore J.C.,University of Oulu | Moore J.C.,Beijing Normal University | Moore J.C.,University of Oslo
Antarctic Science | Year: 2010

We review the current scientific knowledge about Antarctic Blue Ice Areas (BIAs) with emphasis on their application for palaeoclimate studies. Substantial progress has been made since the review by Bintanja (1999), in particular dating the archive of ancient ice found on the surface of BIAs has progressed with advances in 14C measurements, tephrachronology, and geomorphological evidence giving better constraints to more sophisticated ice flow models. Flow modelling also provides information about past changes in ice flow velocities, accumulation rates and ice sheet elevation. The availability of gas composition in vertical cores from BIAs allows matching to well-dated global records of greenhouse gas variability over the last glacial-interglacial cycle and longer. It is clear from the limited number of studies to date that BIAs from different regions have quite different histories of formation and preservation, and that they are intimately linked to the response of their surrounding ice sheets to climate variability on glacial-interglacial time-scales. Looking to the future, climate records from BIAs are expected to provide information on variations in Southern Ocean processes as well as ice sheet evolution within the East Antarctic ice sheet at the thermal transition from cold based to warm based ice. © 2010 Antarctic Science Ltd.

News Article | December 13, 2016

A polar bear sow and two cubs are seen on the Beaufort Sea coast within the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Image Library on December 21, 2005. Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Handout via REUTERS (Reuters) - Rising temperatures that melt sea ice in the Arctic will probably reduce the polar bear population by a third over the next few decades, and the same warming trend is likely to worsen the decline of wild reindeer, scientists said on Monday. The new findings by university and government researchers were presented as part of a panel discussion about climate impacts on wildlife during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The presentation was streamed live on the internet. The polar bear research is drawn from new satellite data documenting a loss of Arctic sea ice - the animal's chief habitat - from 1979 to 2015, and forming the basis of projections in further declines of both ice and bears over the coming decades. Polar bears currently number about 26,000, but their population is expected to diminish by some 8,600 animals over the next 35 to 40 years, the scientists said. At the time polar bears were declared a threatened species in 2008, one study predicted they could vanish from two-thirds of their native range by mid-century. The latest data better quantifies such an outcome. "There is the potential for a large reduction in the global population of polar bears over the next three generations if the sea ice loss continues at the rate we've seen it," said Kristin Laidre, a marine mammal ecologist at the University of Washington's Polar Science Center. Polar bears, standing as tall as 11 feet (3.35 meters) and weighing up to 1,400 pounds (635 kg), use floating sea ice as platforms for everything from mating and rearing their young to hunting their preferred prey of ringed seals. The study was led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Eric Regehr, who told Reuters habitat loss was unequivocal but that effects have varied among the world's 19 sub-populations of polar bears, whose range lies mainly within the Arctic Circle. He pointed to a region north of Alaska where the number has dropped sharply amid significant sea ice losses. Another population west of Alaska appears to have experienced less impact, but that area may sustain larger, healthier populations of seals and other polar bear prey, Regehr said. A warmer climate also is thought to be a primary culprit in the rapid decline of wild reindeer and their close cousins, caribou, Andrey Petrov, head of the Arctic Center at the University of Northern Iowa, said at Monday's symposium. Petrov's study of wild reindeer in Taimyr in northern Russia shows that herd's population has fallen to about 600,000 animals, from 1 million in 2000. The Taimyr population, accounting for about 24 percent of all wild reindeer, is challenged by such factors as loss of young because of migration patterns hampered by a warming climate.

Mustajoki J.,Tampere University of Technology | Saarikoski H.,Finnish Environment Institute | Marttunen M.,Finnish Environment Institute | Ahtikoski A.,Finnish Forest Research Institute | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Management | Year: 2011

Controversy between alternative uses of forests in Finnish Upper Lapland has been going on for decades, and in recent years it has been escalated to a serious conflict. The core of the conflict is the adverse impacts of forestry on old forests which are important grazing areas for reindeer and which are regarded as intact nature and wilderness areas. This paper describes the experiences of applying multi-criteria decision analysis interview approach on this conflict. The approach provides tools for structuring the problem and preferences of the stakeholders as well as for analyzing the effects of different alternatives in a common framework. We focus on the practical experiences gained from the application of this approach in this context. Multi-criteria decision analysis was found to be a useful approach to evaluate the economic, ecological and cultural aspects of this intense conflict. The obtained experiences also support the view that the approach works best when tightly integrated into the planning process. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Humanities | Award Amount: | Year: 2007

In the Core/Periphery model Polar Regions mostly are considered as Resource Frontier Regions (Sugden 1982) because after the discovery these regions are economically used to produce raw materials and fuel for the industries in the core regions of the world. After the hunt on seals, whales and fur animals, man discovered fossil fuels and minerals in the Arctic and started to mine coal around 1900. The coal mining is still going on in some places but at the moment large quantities of oil and gas are discovered and the exploitation of these natural resources is developing. Beside mining and drilling tourist cruises are organized on an increasing scale in many areas of the Arctic Region nowadays. In the Antarctic the economic exploitation was limited to sealing and whaling because of an internationally agreed moratorium on the mining of minerals for 50 years. Nowadays the Antarctic area is only exploited by the tourist industry. The exploitation of natural resources in Polar Regions is a good example of the way people are dealing with the natural resources in the world. Wasteful and unsparing large quantities of raw materials were exploited and transported to the industrial areas. This research will study the processes behind the exploitation of the natural resources in the Polar Regions. It will concentrate on the first decades of the 20th century industrial whaling when against all technological developments whales were processed in land station special built in the polar areas. By studying and comparing the remains of three land stations Green Harbour (Svalbard), Prince Olav Harbour on South Georgia and Hektor station on Deception Island, this research will study how efficient whales were processed and what the impact of this process was on the natural environment in the long term. The social circumstances in the land stations and the way the whalers adapted themselves to the polar circumstances play an important role as well in this research. By studying the remains of the land stations the project will study the technical developments the stations experienced in the first years, how they could exist beside the factory ships and how networks of entrepreneurs and the market in the core areas were determining the production of raw materials in the Resource Frontier Regions in the periphery. Last but not least archive research will be conducted to increase our knowledge about the role these stations have played in the ambitions of national governments to get political control on the Polar Regions and their natural resources.

Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Humanities | Award Amount: | Year: 1997

This project aims to write the history of Dutch and Belgium scientific expeditions to the polar regions since 1875. Based on their historic involvement in the search for the North-Eastern passage to Asia, in 1594-1597, and Arctic whaling, the Dutch organized several expeditions to the Arctic after 1875. After 1897 Belgium also organized such expeditions, however, with the emphasis on the Antarctic. The following scientific disciplines were involved: anthropology, archeaeology, (marine)biology, ethnology, physical oceanography, geology, (physical) geography, meteorology and (terrestrial) magnetism.

News Article | December 23, 2016

Whether you call them caribou or reindeer, Rangifer tarandus around the world are on the decline. There are about 2.5 million of these animals scattered in more than 20 populations across the Arctic, and most of those populations are shrinking. And scientists largely don’t know why. Count the world’s largest population of reindeer, occupying the Taimyr Peninsula of Russia, among those that are disappearing. In 2000, there were around a million of the animals, a high after the fall of the Soviet Union and years of Soviet-sponsored hunting finally ended. Now there are only 600,000, according to Andrey Petrov, of the University of Northern Iowa’s Arctic Center. This huge herd of wild reindeer “crashed and is going down,” Petrov said December 12 at a press conference at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Petrov thinks that he’s found the culprits behind the decline — a combination of the obvious and the unexpected. The Taimyr reindeer have been well-studied for decades. Airborne surveys monitored them from 1969 to 2009. Scientists attached collars to some animals to track where they traveled. Other researchers watched the herd and its environment via satellite. Researchers knew that the reindeer spent their summers in calving grounds in the north and migrated south to spend the winter in a bit more hospitable territory. Year after year, the reindeer would return to the same spots. But that has changed, Petrov revealed at the meeting. Climate change is altering the reindeer’s territory. Temperatures have risen, by about 1.5 degrees Celsius on average. Spring now arrives sooner, resulting in rivers unfreezing earlier in the year. The reindeer now have to swim across the rivers instead of walking across ice, Petrov noted. Since 2000, the reindeer’s summer grounds have moved a bit to the east and north, meaning that the animals’ migration route is now longer. Mosquitoes have also become more of a problem, and wildfires have increased in frequency. Humans aren’t giving the reindeer much of a break either. Migration routes have been blocked by infrastructure, and pollution has become a problem. (The industrial city of Norilsk is located within the animals’ range.) And that decline in hunting after the fall of the Soviet Union has proven to be a double-edged sword. The end of state-sponsored hunting let the caribou reach record numbers, but it also let the wolf population increase. Wolves are now a big problem for the reindeer, Petrov said. And there are still some big unknowns. It is unclear what effect subsistence hunting might be having on the Taimyr population. Some scientists think that these hunters might be killing enough animals to be contributing to the quick decline.

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