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132 Polar Explorers, pt. 1: The Woman Who Tamed The Arctic

25 . 05 . 2021

Notes

Watch this on video | Buy us a coffee: Chris / Henry

POLAR NEWSREEL 20-24°C hotter than average but truly mind-boggling for this time of year, a ferocious heatwave has reached large parts of the Russian Arctic with +30°C (86.5°F). The workhorse of Antarctic field operations, the Twin Otter DHC-6, had its 1st flight 56 yrs ago in 1965 - Happy Birthday! Global warming has unlocked hundreds of Viking artifacts from the ice of the Norwegian mountains in recent years. The new heavyweight champion in the league of icebergs is A-76, a hunk of ice that measures 1,670 square miles (4,320 square kilometers) and broke of the Ronne Ice Shelf on May 13. An a new study shows that those giant icebergs may be playing a larger role in carbon sequestration and Earth’s global carbon cycle than previously thought.

THE WOMAN WHO TAMED THE ARCTIC The first part of the Polar Explorers mini series introduces the woman who tamed the Arctic. As a true explorer, Louise Arner Boyd has contributed greatly to our understanding of the Arctic today, particularly our understanding of the coasts of Greenland.

Born in 1887 into a wealthy family in San Rafael, California, her intense interest in the Arctic grew after the first sight of the pack ice while touring Svalbard in her late thirties. Boyd would dedicate the rest of her life and fortune to learning more about the Arctic through science and the lens of her camera.

Louise Arner Boyd led seven self-financed Arctic expeditions, published three books of photographs through the American Geographical Society, chartered the first private flyover of the North Pole, and was honoured with numerous awards and medals from myriad organisations and governments.

Boyd's 1931 and 1933 expeditions to the northeast coast of Greenland provided the basis for her book The Fiord Region of East Greenland, which included 350 photographs. For these trips, Boyd chartered the Veslekari, a large ship, and brought along surveyors, geologists, and botanists. Boyd served as leader of the expedition and the only photographer, having invested in some very high-end equipment and learned the principles of photogrammetry, the science of taking and interpreting photographs to create models or maps. Her excellent photographs led to the accurate mapping of a remote area of eastern Greenland that was relatively unknown. Subsequently, Denmark named this area “Louise Boyd Land."

This is an episode of the Curiously Polar podcast

with Chris Marquardt https://chrismarquardt.com/ Henry Páll Wulff: https://henrypall.com/

Listen to all podcast episodes at https://curiouslypolar.com

All video episodes at https://tfttf.com/curiouslypolarvideo

Find us here: Web: https://curiouslypolar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/curiouslypolar Instagram: https://instagram.com/curiouslypolar

131 Scramble for the North Pole

18 . 05 . 2021

Notes

Watch this on video | Buy us a coffee: Chris / Henry

POLAR NEWSREEL: A new batch of new satellites brings broadband connectivity services to some of the world’s hardest to reach places. German start-up Rocket Factory Augsburg has signed a contract with Norway's Andøya Space for a 2022 maiden flight of the company’s RFA One small-satellite launch vehicle. The Nunavut community of Iqaluit has declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. And the [Icelandic volcano spits lava fountains up to 300 metres](https://www.highnorthnews.com/en/arctic-2050-mapping-future-arctic ) into the sky.

SCRAMBLE FOR THE NORTH POLE: Just a few weeks back media outlets around the globe where alarmed when Russia submitted an extension to its claim in the Arctic Ocean, quoting Canada’s Foreign Minister: “You cannot claim any more.” Diving into that raises the question who actually owns the North Pole and why is it important?

Beginning in 1925 numerous countries have claimed parts of the Arctic based on the so-called Sector Principle, which extends the territorial claim along the longitudes of its land-territory towards the North Pole. Canada was the first country to do so, followed by the Soviet Union and Norway. Later those claims have been based on scientific evidence in the legal framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) finding a peak in 2007 when Russia planted a flag at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. Under current international law, the North Pole and the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it are not owned by any country. As of now, three nations have submitted claims for the seabed below the Arctic Ocean, Russia, Canada and Denmark (Greenland) but none of the claims have been accepted yet and it might take years. So eventually, all three nations will need to sit down and start negotiations on the final delimitations of their Arctic territory, including their competing claims to the pole, and that’s a truly exciting chapter of human history.

One might ask, what all the fuzz is actually about. It’s an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that are thought to lie under the polar oceans, although the central North Pole region is not thought to be especially rich in fossil fuels.

Claiming the North Pole and thus ownership over it has to do with its symbolic importance rather than access to natural resources. This plays into the narrative of Arctic sovereignty, protecting your Arctic territory, and upholding your Arctic presence. Being able to extract the estimated 90 billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas from the seafloor in the middle of the Central Arctic Ocean, is technologically a long ways off. The North Pole is more of a symbolic prize in all this.

Episode 56: The Whiskey War

This is an episode of the Curiously Polar podcast

with Chris Marquardt https://chrismarquardt.com/ Henry Páll Wulff: https://henrypall.com/

Listen to all podcast episodes at https://curiouslypolar.com

All video episodes at https://tfttf.com/curiouslypolarvideo

Find us here: Web: https://curiouslypolar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/curiouslypolar Instagram: https://instagram.com/curiouslypolar

130 Drifting North

26 . 04 . 2021

Notes

Watch this on video | Buy us a coffee: Chris / Henry

POLAR NEWSREEL Our long-time friend and most favourite of all icebergs, A-68A, is gone. Russia starts its work on a fiber optic cable to connect the Asian part of the Russian Arctic. And in Greenland a new government has taken over with the youngest prime minister in the country’s history.

DRIFTING NORTH A largely unknown episode of polar research tried to cast some light onto scientific observations in the Central Arctic Basin, the first since Fridtjof Nansen’s famous Fram Expedition from 1893-96. Based on observation from the First Soviet High-Latitude Expedition onboard the icebreaking steamer Sadko, the Soviet Union deployed four researchers under Expedition Leader Ivan Papanin onto the Arctic sea ice close to the North Pole. The drift ice station North Pole-1 continued for 274 days, during which the station travelled more than 2600 km. The success but also the observations of this expedition led to a series of 31 drift ice expeditions where 88 polar crews occupied the ice floes for a total of 29,726 drift days, while drifting a distance of 169,654 km. The research program of the "North Pole" drifting stations is unequalled in the 20th century by duration, variety of observational material, importance of scientific discoveries, and number of resolved problems. After the end of the Soviet Union, Russia has picked up the programme in spring 2003 but since the mid-2000s it became more and more difficult due to global warming to find a suitable ice floe to station camp on and several stations had to be evacuated prematurely because of unexpectedly fast thawing of the ice. In December 2020 the ice-resistant self-propelled research platform Severnyy Polyus (eng. North Pole) has been launched. The most unusually egg-shaped floating platform is supposed to replace the previous ice-based drift expeditions and intended for multi-year drifting deployments in very high latitudes.

This is an episode of the Curiously Polar podcast

with Chris Marquardt https://chrismarquardt.com/ Henry Páll Wulff: https://henrypall.com/

Listen to all podcast episodes at https://curiouslypolar.com

All video episodes at https://tfttf.com/curiouslypolarvideo

Find us here: Web: https://curiouslypolar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/curiouslypolar Instagram: https://instagram.com/curiouslypolar

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