reporting from the arctic
Rather see photos than read stories? Click here for the Arctic Summer album on my website.
Once upon a time in the 10th grade, I heard a home room announcement that the local Rotary Club was accepting applications for an exchange student to spend one year living and studying overseas. Although I had precious little expectation of being chosen, I had a what-the-hell moment, and decided to apply. It’s been 15 years since then, and the year I spent in Chile completely changed my life.
I had that same sort of inkling when my adviser recommended me for a journalism fellowship in the Arctic a few months ago: slim to no expectation of being selected for such an unbelievable opportunity, but no harm done in putting myself out there and filling out the application.
And now I’ve been here two weeks already, with just over two weeks left to go, and it has been a thoroughly incredible experience. Things are probably about to get even more amazing: I’m about to board a plane for Tromso, where I’ll spend a few days before heading north to Longyearbyen, Svalbard – halfway between here and the North Pole. And I’m already well inside the Arctic Circle.
(UPDATE: last day in Kirkenes was today, July 3, 2013. Looking forward to a return someday soon, somehow!)
Here are links to the stories I’ve published at the Observer:
Summer Sea Ice Cover is Smaller, Younger, Thinner – 7.02.13
It might be the look that YOU want for the summer, but it is the worst possible characterization for the Arctic sea ice. Not only is there less, but since it’s younger and thinner, it’s melting even faster. And now scientists are saying that the first ice-free Arctic summer could happen within less than a decade.
June Heat Wave in Kirkenes Not Necessarily Indication of Climate Change – 7.01.13
Everyone’s complaining that they’re not getting any sleep now, because it’s been so hot – not just me, who never sleeps, because the sun never goes down and it’s BIZARRE. But an executive at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute says that the June heat in Kirkenes doesn’t seem to be linked to climate change.
Fisheries Scientists to Government: No Drilling in Lofoten – 6.27.13
No matter how sustainable the fishery, there are always potential threats. For the northeast Arctic cod, big potential oil profits could trump the need to protect a vital spawning ground.
While Obama Moves to Curb Carbon Emissions, Svalbard Prepares to Capture Them – 6.26.13
Obama’s sweeping Climate Action Plan is a perfect complement to the UNIS CO2 Lab project on Svalbard, the Arctic archipelago where climate change is a daily reality and a top priority.
A Storm of Snow Crabs? – 6.25.13
Scientists are watching closely as a blizzard of snow crabs makes its way across the Barents Sea, toward the vulnerable ecosystem of Svalbard.
Understanding the Debate over POPs in Norwegian Farmed Salmon – 6.24.13
One thing that tends to get lost in the discussion over persistent organic pollutants in farmed salmon: just where are they coming from?
Arne Pedersen, President of Norges Kystfiskarlag, Concerned About Impact of Salmon Farms (photo slideshow) – 6.17.13
This is a closer look at Arne’s work as a leader in the fishing community, and at his biggest concern.
More Concerned with Fish Health than Quotas - 6.17.13
I went to Arne’s boat expecting to talk about the new recommendations for a 2014 quota in the cod fishery; instead he was adamant that we address the problem with local wild fish.
Russian Entrepreneurs go Barents – 6.13.13
Young entrepreneurs from around the Barents region gather for this annual event in business innovation and networking, including a record number of Russian participants.
Scientists Recommend Increase in Arctic Cod Quota for 2014 - 6.7.13
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and the Institute of Marine Research have made their total allowable catch recommendations for several key fisheries in Norway, but for the cod fishery, this may be the last time the expected quota remains at such a high level.