Environment, local effects
The Local Environmental Story

It is a stark reality that Arctic sea ice could disappear in the summer sometime between 2013 and 2040. Regardless of exactly when the summer ice will disappear, the downward trend is clear, and shrinking ice cover will change almost everything in the Arctic, and will also be felt globally.


Some Arctic species, such as narwhal, hooded and ringed seals, walrus and polar bears are very dependent on particular ice conditions. They evolved over thousands of years to fit very specific Arctic ice conditions. Now, in a matter of decades those conditions are changing radically. The loss of Arctic ice jeopardizes the very survival of these ice-dependent species.

Ice loss effects will cascade through the entire Arctic food chain. Ice margins are among the most productive zones on Earth, and are central to the food chain, including fish, birds, and mammals. The effects of ice loss are already being felt internationally, especially through changes to the feeding grounds of migratory birds and fish stocks.

Ice provides an important travel route for Arctic land-based species such as caribou and muskox, allowing them to travel between islands and mainland areas.The loss of sea ice opens up larger parts of the Arctic Ocean to activities such as shipping and exploitation of non-renewable resources such as oil and gas. These activities are likely to add further stresses to Arctic ecosystems already feeling the effects of climate change.

The absence of sea ice along Arctic shorelines increases erosion of such areas, washing away infrastructure and even threatening entire coastal communities.The loss and changes in distribution of species are likely to have a profound effect on Arctic peoples who rely on such resources to survive.

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Local Environment gallery, photos of team and expedition.
"Environment" Blog Posts
WildTrack - Polar Bear Monitoring
Posted by Zoe Jewell
Sky Alibhai and Zoë Jewell founded WildTrack (www.wildtrack.org) in 2004 to develop and implement non-invasive and cost-effective methods of monitoring endangered species....more
Monday, 04th May 2009
Posted by Gaby Dean
People living in the UK tend to be obsessed by the weather. But thousands of kilometres away from the prospect of decent shelter, let alone a hot bath, what the weather is doing becomes something of...more
Saturday, 02nd May 2009
Attention to detail
Posted by Paul Deegan
It’s easy to think that staying focused on the big picture is the primary key to success when it comes to successfully completing an ambitious project like the Catlin Arctic Survey....more
Thursday, 30th April 2009
Ice Report
Posted by Andy Pag
The results collected in the first month of the Catlin Arctic Survey point to an unexpected lack of thicker Multiyear Ice....more
Tuesday, 21st April 2009
Arctic Colours
Posted by Dominic Hilton
The Arctic isn’t a place for vibrant colours. Day after day, vast expanses of pale light, white snow and ice-scapes and an endless blue sky stretch ahead of the three explorers......more
Tuesday, 14th April 2009
Polar bear hunting
Posted by Dominic Hilton
The Polar bear is the largest land carnivore and has a reputation as the only animal that actively hunts humans. They spend most of their time on Arctic ice floes, feeding on seals....more
Monday, 13th April 2009
Drilling Observations
Posted by Dominic Hilton
In the Antarctic, an ice bridge linking a shelf of ice the size of Jamaica to two islands snapped, providing scientists with further evidence of rapid change in the region....more
Tuesday, 07th April 2009
Pain management
Posted by Dr Craig McLean
Over the years the human body has been studied at length to explore our ability to deal with pain and how chemically we have defenses to enable us to tolerate high levels of pain....more
Monday, 06th April 2009
Posted by Gaby Dean
The Catlin Arctic Survey Team have now been working in temperatures of below -40 degrees centigrade for more than 30 days...their voices often sound slurred and they occasionally muddle their words....more
Monday, 06th April 2009
WWF Earth Hour
Posted by Tori Taylor
With an estimated 50 million global participants in the WWF Earth Hour in 2008, this year is set to rise above last year’s figures with a billion people projected to take part....more
Saturday, 28th March 2009

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