Expeditions 003 and 004

ArcticEarth at an unnamed anchorage near the Lille Gletscher in Uummannaq Fjord, 590 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle (photo: M Day)

ArcticEarth has returned to Maine. Our first full season in the Arctic is complete! We are now announcing our expedition locations for next summer: (north to south in Greenland) Disko Bay, Ikka Fjord, Nanortalik, Cape Farewell, and the remote SE coast of Greenland! Bookings for 2023 (and 2024) are well underway. The northern summer is short. Travel logistics are set up early. Please let me know soon what you are thinking!  

Expedition 003 and 004 reports. After nearly a month of filming and making sure all got on track with our AE game plan, I left the boat and crew in Nuuk at the conclusion of expedition 002. Magnus and Julia continued north for the next two charters, crossing the Arctic Circle into Disko Bay and beyond. The first of these two charters was a film team from a UK-based production company. The second was a multi-element science and mountaineering expedition with a French-based group called Into the White, led by partner Pierre Muller. This group finished up in the vast and varied Uummannaq Fjord, north of Disko. Alun Hubbard (The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso) was the scientist on expedition 004.

Following inuksuk (cairns) connects Arctic people to generations of others who’ve found themselves in the same place (J Prinselaar)
Alun Hubbard checks his time-lapse cameras above Qarassap Sermia, also called Store Glacier, in Uummannaq Fjord (J Prinselaar)

paper that Alun co-authored with lead author Jason Box and ten others appeared in NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE at the end of August (following the mid-August release of a paper by others that clocked the rate of warming in the Arctic to be FOUR times faster than the rest of the planet over the last 43 years). Alun’s team’s findings: Greenland’s contribution to sea level rise could be more than 2 feet within the century if the pace of warming continues.

These are benchmarks for how the Arctic is ground zero for a rapidly-changing earth. There is plenty of joy and beauty in these northern landscapes, but the New Arctic also has something else. We are learning how our planet functions. Local is only a moment away from the Planetary. Speed-up is right next door to Slow-down.

ArcticEarth alongside Pelagic and Chuck Gates in Sisimiut
(l to r) Julia, Magnus, Alun Hubbard, Pierre Muller

Filmmaker Jessica Plumb was part of an effort I founded in 2015 called Conservation Media Group. A month ago, she published her keen observations from a June Greenland expedition, in ORION magazine. Opinion columnist Bret Stephens at the New York Times is also back from a trip: Yes, Greenland’s Ice is Melting, But… I completely disagree with Stephens on solutions, but I appreciate his engagement and recognition of our hefty manmade challenges.

New questions and emotions are now at our horizon. In some way our time on this planet is drawing to a close. What is next? My friend Leslie sent me a copy of the epilogues: Afterwards on the Planet, by Barbara Hurd. The future does not all arrive at the same time.

Meanwhile in Maine, at the southern gateway to the Arctic… from Bowdoin College News, Brunswick, Maine. On October 18, 2022, more than twenty members of the US-Greenland Joint Committee held a three-hour private session to discuss cooperation in a number of key areas: trade and investment, energy and mining, education and cultural issues, and science and technology (particularly as it relates to tackling climate change and the accelerated rate at which this is happening in Greenland).  Afterwards, the group visited the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center at Bowdoin College. Students engaged the group in a Q & A session, facilitated by the Director of the Museum and the Arctic Studies Center Susan Kaplan

US-Greenland Joint Committee meets at Bowdoin College
Doug Jones (US State Dept) speaks at The Hús (photo: C. Cary)

Reception at The Hús in Portland, hosted by Dana Eidesness and MENADO. Later that evening, members of the delegation spoke informally to Mainers who have an interest in working with Greenlanders and Greenland-based businesses. I saw some old friends and also met several new people too; the recently appointed Director of Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies CenterHolly Parker, and also caught up with our Greenlander friend Sarah Woodall (Innovation South Greenland) who we hosted for lunch onboard ArcticEarth in Qaqortoq last summer. Sarah reported on the North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference she helped organize in July in Narsarsuaq. Greenland wool is clearly part of the New Arctic.