The Changing Arctic

Here are a few stories I picked up over the last few weeks that highlight changing conditions in the North.

Lake Forms on Top of West Iceland Glacier

A lake has formed in the top crater of the glacier Ok in west Iceland due to climate change, as expeditioners on behalf of the Natural History Museum of Kópavogur confirmed yesterday. The lake is a few hectares in size and 3-4.5 meters deep.

One proposal is to name the new lake Kringluvatn (“Circle Lake”) in the honor of Snorri Sturluson, who’s epic Heimskringla is so-named from its opening words, “Kringla heimsins, sú er mannfólkit byggir, er mjök vágskorin”: “The earth’s circle, which the human race inhabits.”

Russian Yacht Circumnavigates the North Pole

The Russian sailing yacht Peter I has wrapped up its one-season trip around the North Pole in what became the world’s first such voyage without an icebreaker.

First high-tonnage tanker through Northeast Passage

The 100,000 ton tanker “Baltica” left Murmansk on Saturday loaded with gas condensate for China.

The Northern Sea route is open for less than two months in the late summer when the ice is at its minimum. The period of possible sailing along Siberia’s northern coast is however increasing due to the rapid ongoing climate changes.

Norilsk-Nickel shipment arrived in Shanghai

The ice-classed vessel “Monchegorsk” is the first cargo vessel to sail the entire Northern Sea Route without icebreaker assistance.

» Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 | Permanent Link

Barnes Ice Cap

A high resolution image of the Barnes Ice Cap on Baffin Island from NASA.

This is an East (top) to West (botton) strip directly through the center of the ice cap. Notice the clamshell-like ripples through the surface. These are exposed bands of dust mixed in with the deposited snow that has been exposed over time by snow melt. Notice also the network of melt water streams.

Barnes Ice Cap

I want to go there someday. Igloolik to Clyde River seems doable.

» Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | Comments (1) | Permanent Link

Google Translate’s “Lorem Ipsum” Easter Egg

Google Translate now supports Latin, and I think they slipped in a joke. They knew that the first chunk of text anyone would try is some standard “lorem ipsum” text. Doing that, the first words are translated as “Hello World!”

That’s an obvious software engineering joke. “Hello World!” is what programmers often have their first program produce when they’re trying to make something work for the first time.

But “lorem” is not a real Latin word. It was snipped off of “dolorem” at some point in the past. If you put in the first chunk of real Latin in the “lorem ipsum” standard, “dolorem ipsum dolor sit amet” it translates as “loves pain itself, pain is love.”

» Posted: Friday, October 1, 2010 | Comments (11) | Permanent Link