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Cryosphere - winter seasons, Northern and Southern Hemispheres Cryosphere - winter seasons, Northern and Southern Hemispheres
Seasonal variation in the extent of ice and snow cover is greatest in the Northern Hemisphere. Imagine the Earth with white caps on the top and bottom. The top cap increases by a factor of six from summer to winter, while the bottom cap only doubles from summer to winter. This difference is due to snow cover: in the Northern Hemisphere snow cover on land varies from less than 2 million km2 in the summer to 40 to 50 million km2 in the winter3. The...
01 Jun 2007 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Major research stations in the Arctic Major research stations in the Arctic
The Arctic is interesting for many types of researchers. For example, glaciologists study the ice and snow, while oceanographers look at the oceans. The ice, snow and oceans in the Arctic and Antarctic affect the global climate and are presently changing as a result of global warming. Biologists research the plants and animals, which are specially adapted to the polar regions and will be some of the first in the world to be affected by climate ch...
31 Jul 2008 - by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Many of the largest rivers in the Himalayas Hindu Kush region are strongly dependent upon snow and glacial melt for waterflow Many of the largest rivers in the Himalayas Hindu Kush region are strongly dependent upon snow and glacial melt for waterflow
Except for the fact that glaciers are melting rapidly in many places, we do not have adequate data to more accurately project when and where water scarcity will affect irrigation schemes in full. Making accurate projections is also difficult because of variations in the effects on ground and surface water, as well as on water for urban needs and industrial purposes Furthermore, the cost of water may also increase, seriously complicating the water...
02 Feb 2009 - by Ieva Rucevska, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Arctic summer snow cover extent 1968-2008 Arctic summer snow cover extent 1968-2008
The average snow cover extent during June, July and August across the Arctic (north of the polar circle) section of Eurasia and North America has decreased by 22,000 km2/year during 1968–2008.
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Advancement of phenological events in high-arctic Greenland Advancement of phenological events in high-arctic Greenland
It is clear from lower latitudes that phenological trends are linked to temperature changes and experimental warming also results in earlier plant phenology. Yet, in Arctic and alpine ecosystems, the melting of the winter snow pack rather than temperature per se determines the onset of biological activity like the timing of flowering in plants and emergence in invertebrates. As such, the phenology of these groups of organisms, or taxa, could be a...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Reindeer herding - vegetation impacts (Norway and Finland) Reindeer herding - vegetation impacts (Norway and Finland)
A very high-resolution false color Ikonos-2 satellite image of Jauristunturit in the border zone shared by Norway and Finland. Image acquired 28 June 2001. The main vegetation type is lichen dominated tundra heath with dwarf shrubs. The difference in whiteness is due to lichen coverage, and the national border with reindeer fence visibly divides the area. The northern portion is Norway, where fruticose lichen coverage is higher. This is a consequ...
17 Mar 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, GRID-Arendal & CAFF
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Polar bear sub-populations and pollution Polar bear sub-populations and pollution
There are thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000 bears in the world, which occur in19 relatively discrete sub-populations, some of which are shared between nations. Topping the food chain in the Arctic, the polar bear is exposed to high levels of pollutants that are magnified with each step higher in the food web (a process known as biomagnification). Recent studies have suggested that the immune system may be weaker in polar bears with higher l...
13 Oct 2010 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Arctic, topography and bathymetry (topographic map) Arctic, topography and bathymetry (topographic map)
The Arctic represents the northermost area of the World, the Arctic Ocean and the land areas that surrounds it. The region is characterized but cold temperatures, and ice and snow. The summers are short, but with long periods of daylight (midnight sun). The winters are long and cold and with periods with no sun (polar night). The Arctic Ocean is one basin that is mostly covered by sea ice, and is connected to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The ...
01 Oct 2010 - by Hugo Ahlenius, 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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A World of Salt A World of Salt
Global water type by percentage. Estimates of global water resources based on several different calculation methods have produced varied estimates. Shiklomanov in Gleick (1993) estimated that: - The total volume of water on earth is 1.4 billion km3. - The volume of freshwater resources is 35 million km3, or about 2.5% of the total volume. Of these, 24 million km3 or 68.9% is in the form of ice and permanent snow cover in mountainous regions, a...
26 Jan 2009 - by Phillippe Rekacewicz, February 2006
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Seasonal patterns of precipitation and runoff Seasonal patterns of precipitation and runoff
The infuence of glaciers on seasonal distribution of river fow is strongly dependent on annual temperature and precipitation cycles, and the proportion of the catchment occupied by glacier ice. Figure 4 compares precipitation and river fow data for heavily and lightly glacierized catchments in the European Alps and Peru. In the European Alps, runoff is greater than precipitation in summer in both heavily and lightly glacierized catchments. This...
06 Dec 2010 - by Riccardo Pravettoni
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Snow Leopard range in Asia Snow Leopard range in Asia
The Snow Leopard inhabits the alpine and sub-alpine regions of Asia’s most spectacular mountain ranges. Occupying nearly 2 million km2, the snow leopard’s range extends across 12 range states from Russia and Mongolia to Nepal and Bhutan. Unfortunately this magnificent predator had to be listed as Endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). As few as 3,500–7,000 cats may remain in the wild and the population is thought to be dwindling acr...
15 Nov 2011 - by Riccardo Pravettoni, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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