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KAES1101 Introduction to the Arctic


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Title: KAES1101 Introduction to the Arctic

KAES1101Introduction to the Arctic
  • Course IntroductionSept 13-15, 2005
  • scott.forrest_at_ulapland.fi

Background to Arctic Studies Program
  • Established in 1991
  • Undergraduate, interdisciplinary program in
  • Part of University of Laplands
    internationalization strategy
  • First basic course in Spring 1992
  • Run annually from the fall since 1992
  • Advanced component added, Spring 1993
  • Most students originally came from UK, Russia,
    Germany, Canada, Finland, USA
  • Supported by ERASMUS, Northern Consortium, and
    north2north mobility programs
  • Normally incorporating at least one excursion to
    Lapland/Kola region
  • Began integration of University of the Arctics
    Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies, 2002
  • Now part of ULaplands international studies
    programs, together with Northern Resources
    masters programme, Russian Studies, Intercultural
    Communication, etc.

ASP Structure
Background to Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies
  • Arose through the University of the Arctic, based
    on the success of programs like the ASP
  • Aim was to create a broad, interdisciplinary, and
    circumpolar undergraduate program that could be
    accessed by students of different northern
  • A program about the north, designed by
    northerners for northerners. Relevant to northern
  • Designed from the beginning with flexible modes
    of delivery in mind classroom, field, online,
    exchange, etc
  • University of the Arctics signature program
  • Structure of Intro, Core, Advanced Emphasis
  • Thematically organized into Peoples and Cultures,
    Lands and Environments, and Contemporary Issues
  • Degree, if any, granted from home university,
    according to local and national standards, and
    approved by the University of the Arctic
  • Currently being taught online and in several
    different classroom-based versions, including the
    University of Lapland/Arctic Centres Arctic
    Studies Program
  • ASP was reorganized to incorporate BCS materials
    and follow the overall BCS structure
  • By taking additional literature exams, ASP
    students are able to get full equivalent credits
    for BCS courses to transfer back to participating
    home institutions

Objectives of the Course
  • Acquire a basic knowledge of the regions
    geography, peoples, and their systems of
  • Develop and introductory understanding of the
    physical and biological features and processes in
    the region.
  • Begin to orient your socio-cultural perspective
    to a northern viewpoint, seeing the Arctic as an
    active an important region rather than a distant

Course Structure andReading List
  • What is the Arctic? Geography of the Circumpolar
  • BCS 100 1 Introduction
  • AMAP 2002 2 Setting the Stage
  • Arctic Systems and Environment (no lecture)
  • BCS 100 2 Geographic and Physical Processes
  • Readings from KAES1201 http//www.arcticcentre.or
  • BCS 100 6 Environment and Global Climate Change
  • Arctic Flora and Fauna
  • BCS 100 3 Biological Features and Processes
  • CAFF 2 Ecology
  • Peoples and Cultures
  • BCS 100 4 Peoples and Cultures
  • AHDR 2 Arctic Demography
  • History of the Arctic Region
  • BCS 100 5 History of the Circumpolar World
  • International Cooperation in the Arctic
  • BCS 100 13 International Cooperation
  • AHDR 12 Circumpolar International Relations and
  • Excursion to Pyhä (Sept 22-23)

Grade StructureExam Oct 7, 0900-1200
  • Arctic Map Quiz (25)
  • Identify names of 20 geographic locations listed
    on a map
  • Locate 20 geographic locations on a map from a
  • Flora and Fauna Identification Quiz (25)
  • Identify 25 species by common name from a photo
    or illustration (English 2, Finnish or Russian
  • Bonus points for correct scientific genus
  • Definitions Quiz (50)
  • define or explain terms
  • glossary terms from BCS modules
  • list of scientific terms from Arctic Systems and
  • major terms and concepts from other readings

General Arctic Resources
  • Non-scientific reports
  • Arctic Flora and Fauna Status and Conservation
    (CAFF, 2001) http//www.caff.is/sidur/sidur.asp?id
  • Arctic Pollution, State of the Arctic Environment
    (AMAP, 2002) http//amap.no/documents/index.cfm?di
  • Impacts of a Warming Climate (Arctic Climate
    Impact Assessment, ACIA, 2004) http//amap.no/work
  • Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR, 2004)
  • Course Material
  • Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies (UArctic BCS
    Intro Core courses) http//www.uarctic.org/bcs/s
  • NOST 202 Social History of the North (Yukon
    College) http//www.yukoncollege.yk.ca/agraham/no
  • Scientific Texts
  • To the Arctic an introduction to the far
    northern world (S. Young, 1989)
  • Arctic Adaptations Native Whalers And Reindeer
    Herders Of Northern Eurasia (I. Krupnik, 1993)
  • The Arctic Environment, People, Policy (ed,
    Nuttall, 2000)
  • The Arctic Climate System (Serreze Barry, 2005)
  • Encyclopedia of the Arctic (ed. Nuttall, 2004)
  • Arctic Politics Conflict And Cooperation In The
    Circumpolar North (O. Young, 1992)
  • Scientific Journals
  • Arctic (Arctic Institute of North America)
  • Arctic and Alpine Research
  • Polar Record

General Arctic Resources
  • Web Sites
  • Arctic Council www.arctic-council.org
  • University of the Arctic www.uarctic.org
  • The Arctic Is www.thearctic.is
  • Arctic Centre www.arcticcentre.org
  • PolarWeb http//arcticcentre.ulapland.fi/polarweb/
  • Arctic Circle www.arcticcircle.uconn.edu
  • Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program
  • Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna
  • International Arctic Science Committee
  • International Polar Year www.ipy.org
  • BarentsInfo www.barentsinfo.org

Introductionto the Arctic
  • Starting Points and Preconceptions

  • Why do you want to study the Arctic? What
    interests you?
  • What do you think of when you hear the word

Exoticism and Romanticism
  • Greek geographer and explorer Pytheas of Massalía
    claimed that Ultima Thule was found six days
    journey north of Britain, and the sun never set
  • Even up to the Middle Ages, the idea of Ultima
    Thule persisted as a mythical place beyond the
    known world
  • As a little-known and distant place, the Arctic
    and the North have become powerful images in
    popular culture throughout the world. Perhaps
    more than any other region on earth, the idea of
    the North is far out of proportion with most
    peoples actual knowledge of the region.
  • Popular images of the Arctic are dominated by
    barren frozen landscapes (empty of inhabitants)
    which must be conquered by adventurous heroes
    (usually white men). The people, particularly the
    Inuit, are idealized with romantic images as a
    kind of friendly noble savage
  • This attitude towards can be seen throughout the
    history of the region in the expeditions by polar
    explorers, resource exploitation, colonization
    and settlement by southern states, and continues
    today in such forms as polar tourism

North as Here
  • A primary objective of the course is to begin to
    orient your thinking about the Arctic from being
    a strange place out there to a central place
  • This course is for both northerners and
    non-northerners, although it takes a northern
  • This is not southern wes talking about northern
    theys. This takes a voice of a northern we,
    even if we are sometimes talking to southern
    wes or theys
  • Its important we begin to understand the North
    from the point of view of the people that live
    here. That this is a homeland, and a normal
    environment from our perspective. One of the
    many themes you will wrestle with in your time
    here is the contrasting images of the North as a
    barren frozen wasteland, and that of the
    Friendly Arctic as Canadian-Icelandic explorer
    Viljhamur Stefansson called it in his book of the
    same name.
  • Barren ground is a libellous name by which the
    open land of the north is commonly described. The
    name is better adapted for creating the
    impression that those who travel in the North are
    intrepid adventurers than it is for conveying to
    the reader a true picture of the country. If we
    want to be near the truth we should begin by
    removing the imaginary Arctic from our minds

The Arctic as a Region
  • People have travelled, traded and interacted
    around the Arctic region for millennia
  • The first peoples of the Americas arrived from
    Eurasia across the Beringia land bridge
  • Vikings reached out from Scandinavia as far as
    North America, the Mediterranean, and the Caspian
  • Although relations across parts of the Arctic
    have existed throughout history, it is only since
    the end of the Cold War that the concept of the
    Arctic as a common international region has
  • In this view the north pole is seen as an axis
    (centre point) rather than the top of the world
    and the Arctic ocean is seen as a kind of
    Mediterranean, uniting rather than separating

Introduction to the Arctic
  • Concepts and Definitions

Knowledge starting point
  • What do you know about the Arctic?
  • How many people live in the Arctic?
  • Why is it so cold in the Arctic?
  • What causes northern lights (aurora borealis)?
  • What are the eight Arctic countries?
  • Where do the Yupik live?
  • What is tundra?

  • Arctic tern
  • Sterna paradisaea

Northern Literacy Interdisciplinarity
  • Traditional university programs produce
    specialists with deep disciplinary focus
  • The North is a region where natural and social
    systems are particularly integrated and
  • Small populations, social histories, cold
    climate, sensitive environmental and biological
    systems mean small changes have broad and complex
  • Understanding the potential effects of new
    developments, be they social, economic,
    environmental, etc, requires at least a basic
    understanding of the lands, nature, people,
    cultures, and issues in the North
  • Furthermore, responding to the challenges facing
    the North in ones own area of study requires
    being able to talk to experts from different
    specialities. You need a basic understanding of
    other disciplines to be able to discuss with one
  • The world outside the Arctic has a tremendous
    effect on the North, as environmental, economic,
    and social systems are integrated through global
    processes. It is just as important that those
    potentially making important decisions that will
    affect the future of the Arctic know something
    about the region. Particularly, as the what works
    in the south, rarely works in the North. That is
    as true for developing language education or
    medical services as it is for building roads, or
    exploring for oil.

Looking at Maps
  • An important part of how the popular imagination
    sees the Arctic comes from how it appears on our
  • We cant begin to change our perspective about
    the Arctic until we start to change the map
  • All maps distort distance, shape, area, or
    direction, as you cannot accurately depict a
    sphere in 2D space.
  • The choices of mapmakers in attempting to portray
    the earth on a flat surface reflects a
    socio-cultural viewpoint. What is in the centre?
    What is distorted to appear larger?

Robinson Projection
Mercator Projection
Azimuthal Equidistant
(No Transcript)
Locating and Defining the North
  • As much a concept as place
  • A product of popular imagination and the subject
    of a great deal of ignorance and misconception
  • Dominated by individual and disciplinary
  • Single-factor definitions
  • Northern environment is a factor of the tilt of
    the earths axis and its orbit around the sun
  • Arctic circle 66, limit of sunlight at
    winter/summer solstice
  • Other latitudes 55/60/70/75 (Ancient Greeks
    divided world into three tiers, with 60
  • 10 July Isotherm (climatologic), which also
    corresponds roughly with the treeline
  • For most natural scientists the Arctic is above
    the treeline, and the subarctic follows below it.
  • Maximum extent of sea ice (February/August)
  • Regions inhabited by northern peoples (Inuit,
    Sami, northern Russian indigenous peoples)
  • Arctic states, or the northernmost political
    divisions of those states (political)
  • Multiple factor indexes
  • Soviet scholars (Slavin) produced index combining
    northern latitude, climate, population, and level
    of economic development
  • Canadian scholar Hamelin, spent lifes work
    refining his Nordicity index with ten factors
    weighted on a scale of 100, to produce a value
    out of 1000 (valeur polaire, or VAPO)
  • VAPO included many factors which measured
    remoteness such as population and
    transportation networks, as well as climatic and
    latitudinal measurements
  • AMAP assessment area north of the Arctic Circle
    (6632N), and north of 62N in Asia and 60N in
    North America, modified to include the marine
    areas north of the Aleutian chain, Hudson Bay,
    and parts of the North Atlantic Ocean including
    the Labrador Sea
  • Similar boundary area definitions arising from
    other Arctic Council working groups and reports,
    such as CAFF, ACIA, AHDR, blending physical,
    natural (climate, ecosystem), and human
    (nordicity, political units) definitions.

North, Arctic, or Circumpolar Whats in a Name?
  • Arctic
  • Technically only applies to the area North of the
    Arctic Circle, where very few people live, or
    north of the line beyond which trees do not grow
  • Often includes the region just south of the
    Arctic Circle or treeline, referred to as low
    Arctic or subarctic. This region is largely
    comprised of Boreal Forest. Boreal means
    north (same Latin root as Aurora Borealis)
  • Boreal forest is the worlds single largest
  • The line between Arctic/subarctic/boreal vary
    across the North, and throughout geological
    history. Petrified remains of great forests are
    found in the high arctic islands of Axel Heiberg.
  • Because of the contiguousness/connectedness of
    the Arctic and subarctic, they are usually
    studied as one region and Arctic is used to
    refer to them collectively.

North, Arctic, or Circumpolar Whats in a Name?
  • North
  • At first glance, North would seem to be
    preferable to Arctic to refer to the total
    region, but it is the most relative of all the
    terms available to us
  • If youre from Moscow, St. Petersburg is north,
    Copenhagen-Stockholm, Toronto-North Bay, Cape
    Town or Melbourne, pretty much everything is
  • Indeed, Australia has an extensive territory- the
    Northern Territory that shares many
    characteristics of what we call north
    sparsely populated, far from the centres of
    decision-making power, proportionately more
    indigenous people than any other part of the
    country. With the exception of its equatorial
    climate behaves like many other remote northern
  • 128 million results for north on Google- very
    few of which refer to the region were talking
  • Arctic is too precise, North not precise

North, Arctic, or Circumpolar Whats in a Name?
  • Circumpolar
  • The main problem with circumpolar is that it
    literally means around the pole, so it can
    equally mean the region around the South Pole.
    Our map is called the North Circumpolar Region,
    which is a bit of a mouthful.
  • However, there is growing international practice
    to use the term circumpolar to refer to only the
    northern region. Since there are no permanent
    inhabitants of the southern circumpolar region,
    and the northern circumpolar region is integrated
    in many ways that the south is not, the north
    circumpolar exists as a region in many ways that
    the south (Antarctica) does not
  • So while the Arctic Studies Program uses Arctic
    the Northern Resources Masters program uses
    North(ern), the BCS uses Circumpolar, we can
    rest assured that most of us will know what were
    talking about, but many others will be confused.
  • Whatever term we use, it important to understand
    this as a single region, since almost everything
    in it crosses the borders of the eight countries
    that comprise the circumpolar region, often
    without much regard for them.

AMAP Assessment Area
CAFF Boundary
AHDR Boundary
Arctic Population
Arctic Population
Circumpolar Map Quiz
  • Cities
  • Alert
  • Iqaluit
  • Rankin Inlet
  • Yellowknife
  • Whitehorse
  • Inuvik
  • Fairbanks
  • Anchorage
  • Barrow
  • Nome
  • Anadyr
  • Okhostsk
  • Norilsk
  • Murmansk
  • Arkhangelsk
  • Rovaniemi
  • Kiruna
  • Tromso
  • Land
  • Alaska
  • Canada
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • Greenland
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Baffin Island
  • Ellesmere Island
  • Franz Josef Land
  • Kodiak Islands
  • Kola Peninsula
  • Novaya Zemlya
  • St. Lawrence Island
  • Svalbard
  • Victoria Island
  • Water
  • Arctic Ocean
  • Baffin Bay
  • Baltic Sea
  • Barents Sea
  • Beaufort Sea
  • Bering Sea
  • Bering Strait
  • Chukchi Sea
  • Davis Inlet
  • Denmark Strait
  • E. Siberian Sea
  • Greenland Sea
  • Gulf of Bothnia
  • Hudson Bay
  • Kara Sea
  • Labrador Sea
  • Laptev Sea
  • North Sea

Circumpolar Map Quiz
Circumpolar Map Quiz
Arctic Systems and EnvironmentScientific Terms
  • Oscillation
  • Cycle
  • Flux
  • Feedback
  • Ozone hole
  • Greenhouse gas
  • CO2
  • CH4
  • Convection
  • CFCs
  • Equilibrium
  • Steady State
  • Transient
  • Signal to Noise ratio
  • Linear/Non-Linear
  • Trend-line
  • Flow
  • Advection
  • Dimension
  • Stochastic
  • Phase
  • Amplitude
  • Wavelength
  • Statistically significant
  • Frequency
  • Fluid
  • Isotropic
  • Solar-constant
  • Holocene
  • Anthropogenic
  • Pleistocene glaciation
  • Isotope
  • Ion
  • Atom
  • Aerosol
  • Climate Proxy
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