The picture of the Arctic wolf is beautiful. Have you seen much of the
local wildlife? — Rachel H., Massachusetts
There do not appear to be a lot of animals wandering about at this time of year, but I wonder if our eyes need to be trained to look for them. So many Arctic creatures are camouflaged to blend into the snowy landscape. Polar bears and muskox pass through these areas, people tell us, but they may be in a different part of the country or just out of sight now. The water has been frozen solid, so we have not seen any marine animals. We have spied the wolf, an arctic hare, and a lemming. We also saw many large ravens flying around Iqaluit. Huskies and other furry dogs are plentiful, and they are somewhere between pets and wild dogs. We have our eyes open for more, so wish us luck.
Did the scientists make it up there ahead of you? Are they going ahead with their research, or are they stuck someplace in between as well? Any scientific observations to be made outside your hotel window? Snow depths...wildlife...aurora borealis, that sort of thing. Good luck - you'll get there eventually!
—Hugh P., Santa Cruz, California
Of the 18 scientists, technicians, and outreach specialists who were supposed to take part in the North Pole Environmental Observatory this year, only 6 will make it to the Pole. Due to the cracks in the runway at ice camp Borneo, only small planes with light loads could be flown in (see dispatch day 5). NPEO logistics manager, Adreas Heiberg, could not take chances with people and equipment -- no less planes -- getting stuck on the ice at the North Pole. Chris Linder and I will have to wait until another year to get to the Pole, though our colleagues from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution--Rick Krishfield and Kris Newhall--are at the Pole right now deploying instruments for themselves and for colleagues who could not make it to the Pole.
As for scientific observations...we have been exploring the landscape in Resolute and Iqaluit like old-time naturalists, keeping track of weather and animals, etc. We have also spent a lot of time asking Canadian Arctic residents about their experiences of global warming. Look for more about that in an upcoming dispatch.