The Last Days of the Arctic by Ragnar Axelsson

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  1. At any time during the history of mankind an argument could have been made for global warming and/or extreme weather. That said, at any time during the history of mankind an argument could have been made for global cooling and/or extreme weather. Even before mankind existed, both arguments could easily have been advanced. In fact, in all the above cases, they have been. Weather is like that. It changes. Climate is like that too. It changes, only on a grander scale and over longer periods of time.

    The Arctic has always been there in one form or another. For those unfamiliar, the Arctic is an ocean surrounded by land. It is now, of course, frozen over. Arctic winters are long and cold although, surrounded by moderating ocean waters, it is not the coldest place on earth. Antarctica is much colder. Summers are short in the Arctic, and cool. Some parts of the Arctic are covered by sea ice, glacial ice or snow year-round. Virtually all parts of the Arctic are covered by some form of ice for extended periods throughout the year. Winter temperatures can drop below −50 °C (−58 °F) over most of the Arctic. Summer temperatures range from about −10 to +10 °C (14 to 50 °F). A surprise to most, some land areas actually exceed 30 °C (86 °F) in summer occasionally, very occasionally.

    Around April or May the eco-warriors will begin to panic as icebergs calf off the Arctic and Greenland and begin floating out to sea. This is not global warming or climate change. It has been a yearly event since, well since before history was recorded. It is a tourist attraction on the east coast of Canada and has been since well, tourist attractions began.

    Iceberg Alley is an area stretching from the coast of Labrador to the northeast coast of the island of Newfoundland. The more popular places offer tour boats and kayaks as well as shore vantage points. Places like St. Lewis, Battle Harbour, Red Bay, Point Amour, St. Anthony, La Scie, Twillingate, Fogo Island, Change Islands, Bonavista, St. John’s/Cape Spear, Bay Bulls/Witless Bay, Cape St. Mary’s and St. Vincent’s are accessible by road. Those wee towns on the coast of Southern Labrador can be accessed year round by car ferry from the island of Newfoundland.

    If the trip is too far for some North Americans, might I suggest the spectacular ice floes to be found in the more centrally located Niagara River at Fort Erie, Ontario or on Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba each spring. Call ahead for exact dates and times.

    Spring and early summer afford the best viewing times on Iceberg Alley but the season does grow longer the further north you go. Icebergs are most plentiful in April and May but are often locked up in sea ice so late May and early June offer the best viewing for those interested in a sight that is not a precursor to the end of days
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    As nature and luck would have it, thousands of whales and millions of seabirds migrate north late in the spring and early summer along Iceberg Alley. Not only do you see a magical display of bergs, you might get to see humpbacks, gannets and puffins altogether in the same place at the same time.

    So don’t worry about the Arctic. It has seen it all before. It will again. Wooly Mammoth anyone?

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