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Collection: Vital Arctic Graphics

Vital Arctic GraphicsVital Arctic Graphics
Vital Arctic Graphics is a compilation of illustrations and case studies intended to describe the Arctic, the livelihoods of Arctic indigenous peoples and the future well-being of this region. It summarizes some of the key threats to the future sustainability of the Arctic including the rapid pace of climate change, worrying levels of persistent organic and heavy metal pollutants, and increasing natural resource exploration. The coastal regions are particularly important to the peoples of the Arctic and their current protection status is therefore given particular focus.
Available online at: http://www.grida.no/publications/vg/arctic
Annual cycle of light in the Northern Arctic Annual cycle of light in the Northern Arctic
The Arctic is often described as a place of utter darkness or white snow in winter and of midnight sun during the summertime. In fact, there are few places on Earth where the sun displays so much variation in colour due to the low angle of the sun reflected on the mountains, snow and sky over long periods of time. North of the Arctic Circle the sun disappears during winter for days to months, depending upon latitude, leaving the sky in a palette ...
17 May 2005 - by Beatrice Collignon, Sorbonne University
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Major global bird migration routes to the Arctic Major global bird migration routes to the Arctic
Bird species that migrate to the Arctic coasts and wetlands arrive from nearly every corner of the planet. During the summer, the sun never or nearly never sets, resulting in a short but intensive breeding season when millions of migratory birds arrive in the Arctic to breed. The majority of these birds seek the wetlands and coastal shores of the tundra plains. No other place on Earth receives so many migratory species from nearly all corners of...
17 May 2005 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Marine areas without protection in the Arctic Marine areas without protection in the Arctic
The coastal zones highlighted in this map include some of the very last continuous ecosystems where terrestrial, coastal and marine areas are industrially unexploited. Through co-management practices, indigenous peoples can retain their traditional subsistence rights while still protecting important traditional resources for future generations.
17 May 2005 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Exploratory oil wells in the Mackenzie region of NWT,Canada Exploratory oil wells in the Mackenzie region of NWT,Canada
The Mackenzie delta and valley in the Northwest Territories, Canada (NWT) has seen a significant increase in the oil prospecting and exploration activity. This map shows the increase, over time, of oil wells between 1990 and 2001.
17 May 2005 - by Karl Cox, Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Arctic, topography and bathymetry Arctic, topography and bathymetry
The Arctic is extremely diverse in terms of landscapes, varying from pack and drift ice to rugged shores, flat coastal plains, rolling hills and mountains surpassing 6000 metres above sea level (Denali, 6,194 m asl, in sub-arctic and boreal Alaska). The region has rivers and lakes, tundra and the largest forests in the world (the Russian Taiga).
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Permafrost distribution in the Arctic Permafrost distribution in the Arctic
Most of the Arctic is covered by ice and snow for more than eight and even up to twelve months a year, but conditions are highly variable, ranging from snow several metres deep each winter to the polar deserts of northern Greenland with only 50- 100 mm of precipitation annually. A large portion of the Arctic is underlain by permafrost. Permafrost, defined as ground that does not thaw for two or more years, can reach a thickness of up to 1000 metr...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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PCBs in the blood of Arctic residents PCBs in the blood of Arctic residents
Many POPs (persistent organic pollutants) and heavy metals from emissions further south are accumulated in Arctic food chains and ultimately in indigenous peoples. While fear of these compounds sometimes has resulted in abandonment of traditional foods, this has also led to more unhealthy food habits acquired from non-indigenous peoples. Most indigenous peoples in smaller communities still supply a large share of their household foods from natura...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Coastal Arctic food web (drift ice) Coastal Arctic food web (drift ice)
The coastal Arctic food web is closely related to drift ice conditions and seasonal use of shorelines by both terrestrial and sea mammals. Numerous species depend upon each other and the transport of food to and from the marine areas to the coast and inland. Indigenous peoples use most of the food chain and traditionally use both environments for hunting, fishing and gathering.
17 May 2005 - by UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Vegetation zones in the Arctic Vegetation zones in the Arctic
The Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM) project is an international effort to map the vegetation and associated characteristics of the circumpolar region, using a common base map. The base map is a false colour infrared image created from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite data.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Major and minor settlements in the circumpolar Arctic Major and minor settlements in the circumpolar Arctic
Indigenous settlements in the Arctic. As in the past, today's settlements are usually located in resource-strategic positions, with territoriality and social networks adapted to the movements of reindeer/caribou or the seasonal abundance of sea mammals. Most indigenous settlements are small, consisting of only a handful of people, while others are communities of several thousand people. Notice that many dots simply represent seasonal settlements ...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Mercury levels in indigenous women Mercury levels in indigenous women
Many POPs (persistent organic pollutants) and heavy metals from emissions further south are accumulated in Arctic food chains and ultimately in indigenous peoples. While fear of these compounds sometimes has resulted in abandonment of traditional foods, this has also led to more unhealthy food habits acquired from non-indigenous peoples. Most indigenous peoples in smaller communities still supply a large share of their household foods from natura...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Demography of indigenous peoples of the Arctic based on linguistic groups Demography of indigenous peoples of the Arctic based on linguistic groups
Language not only communicates, it defines culture, nature, history, humanity, and ancestry. The indigenous languages of the Arctic have been formed and shaped in close contact with their environment. They are a valuable source of information and a wealth of knowledge on human interactions with nature is encoded in these languages. If a language is lost, a world is lost. This deep knowledge and interconnectedness is expressed in Arctic song, subs...
01 May 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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States, organizations and strategical issues in the Arctic: People across borders States, organizations and strategical issues in the Arctic: People across borders
Through numerous fora, Arctic peoples now seek to define a sustainable balance in their participation between the cash economy and their traditional pursuit. Their right to influence the future of the coastal regions is under heavy pressure from industrial fisheries and exploration activities based much further south.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Demography of indigenous peoples of the Arctic based on linguistic groups Demography of indigenous peoples of the Arctic based on linguistic groups
Areas show colours according to the original languages of the respective indigenous peoples, even if they do not speak their languages today. Notes: Overlapping populations are not shown. The map does not claim to show exact boundaries between the individual language groups. Typical colonial populations, which are not traditional Arctic populations, are not shown (Danes in Greenland, Russians in the Russian Federation, non-native Americans in Nor...
17 May 2005 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Human impact on the Arctic environment 2032 (markets first scenario) Human impact on the Arctic environment 2032 (markets first scenario)
Human activities influence the environment and reduce the value of forests, tundra and plains in terms of original biodiversity and habitat. Primarily larger mammals are hit by the fragmentation caused by roads and pipelines. The GLOBIO methdology has modeled the future impact of human activities in the Arctic, as seen in this map. Infrastructure and settlements are used as proxies for human activities. The scenario used in this map is the 'Marke...
17 May 2005 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Existing and planned development in the Mackenzie delta Existing and planned development in the Mackenzie delta
The Mackenzie delta and valley are seeing increased development of infrastructure for oil, pipelines and facilities, and with that comes temporary settlements and roads. This map illustrates the possible impacts on the environment with the suggested development in 2027.
17 May 2005 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Population distribution in the circumpolar Arctic, by country (including indigenous population) Population distribution in the circumpolar Arctic, by country (including indigenous population)
The Arctic represents one of the most desolate and sparsely populated areas in the World, with few economic opporunities and inhostile climate. This map - based on the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) definition of the Arctic, presents the distribution by country. Note that except for Greenland and Northern Canada, indigenous peoples form a minority, though they can form the majority in local communities. They are therefore particularly vul...
17 May 2005 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Human impact on the Arctic environment 2002 Human impact on the Arctic environment 2002
Human activities influence the environment and reduce the value of forests, tundra and plains in terms of original biodiversity and habitat. Primarily larger mammals are hit by the fragmentation caused by roads and pipelines. The GLOBIO methdology has modeled the current impact of human activities in the Arctic, as seen in this map. Infrastructure and settlements are used as proxies for human activities.
17 May 2005 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Projected changes in the Arctic climate, 2090 Projected changes in the Arctic climate, 2090
The averages of the scenarios in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) are presented in this figure, for the year 2090, with the surface temperatures over land, the size of the polar ice cap, and the outer limits of permafrost.
17 May 2005 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Population distribution in the circumpolar Arctic, by country (including indigenous population) Population distribution in the circumpolar Arctic, by country (including indigenous population)
The Arctic represents one of the most desolate and sparsely populated areas in the World, with few economic opporunities and inhostile climate. This map - based on the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) definition of the Arctic, presents the distribution by country. Note that except for Greenland and Northern Canada, indigenous peoples form a minority, though they can form the majority in local communities. They are therefore particularly vul...
17 May 2005 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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