Antarctic Images by Anthony Powell

July 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Posted in antarctica, Photography, Wheater | Leave a comment
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If you are reading this just right now, there is the chance that you have asked yourself, at some point, how would it be leaving in the North or South Pole. Since my friends know that, today Xarxes sent me this very cool site created and mantained by Anthony Powell. Anthony has been working as seasonal contract worker since 1998 as a Satellite Communications Tech. Just for personal pleasure, h’es been doing photography and time-lapse photography, figuring out systems that work in the extreme cold that will last over long periods of time. And this personal effort received finally recognition since he received the NSF Artists and Writers Grant to work on time-lapse footage full time.

Next year a comprehensive film of a time-lapse “Year on Ice”, edited thanks to this grant, will be released. You can start taking a look at this project through his site Antarctic Images, where you can find images or videos like this one, not to miss!

The photo gallery with pictures from the Northern Lights kept me speechless for a while. The world must beat differently there. And if you are half as curious as I am, I’ll be probably interested on his Youtube Channel or his blog Frozen South.  Thanks to Internet, no limits to satisfy your curiosity on what’s up in Antarctica 😉

The Polarship Fram

September 14, 2008 at 5:06 pm | Posted in Expeditions | Leave a comment
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I have spent some days at Oslo, Norway. One of the most interesting things I did was the visit of the Fram Museet or Fram Polarship Museum. I had already read about the North Pole explorers, but having chance to see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands the Fram – the name means “Forward” in English – they sailed to the very far North was wonderful. This is why I will start a series of posts gathering information about those explorers and their expeditions. It may sound a bit out of place or exaggerated but they really inspire me! The Wikipedia is always a good starting point:

Fram (“Forward”) is a ship that was used in expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic regions by the Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, Oscar Wisting, and Roald Amundsen between 1893 and 1912. Fram was probably the strongest wooden ship ever built. It was designed by the Norwegian shipwright Colin Archer for Fridtjof Nansen’s 1893 Arctic expedition in which Fram was supposed to freeze into the Arctic ice sheet and float with it over the North Pole.

Fram is said to be the wooden ship to have sailed farthest north and farthest south. Fram is currently preserved in whole at the Fram Museum in Oslo, Norway.

Nansen’s ambition was to explore the Arctic farther north than anyone else. To do that, he would have to deal with a problem that many sailing in the polar ocean had encountered before him: the freezing ice would press and crush a ship. Nansen’s idea was to build a ship that could survive the pressure, not by pure strength, but because it would be in a shape designed to let the ice push the ship up, so it would “float” on top of the ice.

Nansen commissioned the shipwright Colin Archer from Larvik to construct a vessel with these characteristics. Fram was built with an outer layer of greenheart wood to withstand the ice and almost without a keel to handle the shallow waters Nansen expected to encounter. The rudder and propeller were designed to be retracted into the ship. The ship was also carefully insulated to allow the crew to live onboard for up to five years.

Scott Polar Research Institute

August 20, 2008 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Education, Research | Leave a comment
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Another cold website, this time is the turn of Scott Polar Research Institute:

Scott Polar Research Institute

Welcome to SPRI

The Institute is a well-known and long-established centre for research into both polar regions. It is part of the University of Cambridge and is a sub-department of the Department of Geography.

We have several research groups investigating a range of issues in both the environmental sciences and social sciences of relevance to the Arctic and Antarctica. Our polar library, which includes the Shackleton Memorial Library, has comprehensive holdings of scholarly books and journals on polar research, with exceptional archival collections from the exploration of the Antarctic and Arctic. We also have extensive online resources, including bibliographic and other information.

Around 60 academic, library and support staff, together with postgraduate students, associates and fellows attached to our research programmes, are working in the Institute, providing a strong core of intellectual activity focused on the Arctic and Antarctic and their adjacent seas.

We offer two Graduate Degree courses; a one-year Master’s Degree (M.Phil.) course in Polar Studies, and a three-year Doctoral Degree course, leading to a Ph.D. degree. Both courses are closely tied to the research activities of the Institute.


We have several research groups investigating a range of issues in the environmental sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities of relevance to the Arctic and Antarctica:

– Glaciology and Climate Change Group.
– Glacimarine Environments Group.
– Polar Landscape and Remote Sensing Group.
– Polar Social Science and Humanities Group.
– Circumpolar History and Public Policy Research Group (HiPP).

In addition, the Institute is part of the NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling.

The most interesting part for my project is the Polar Science and Humanities Group. They are running a bunch of interesting projects:

Polar Social Science and Humanities

Staff and students

The following scientists at the Scott Polar Research Institute are involved in the activities of this research group:

– Academic staff: Dr Michael Bravo, Dr Piers Vitebsky.
– Institute Associates: Prof Valerie Alia:(indigenous and northern media; media representations of polar peoples; Inuit naming; names, identities, politics and power; media ethics; research ethics), Keith Hill (transport, telecommunications and economic development in the Russian Far East; 18th century German scientists in Siberia), Dr Florian Stammler, Dr John Tichotsky (Regional economic development in Siberia, Alaska, Mongolia and China), Dr Emma Wilson.

Research students

– Elizabeth Beiswenger: indigenous political representation and self-government in the Chukotka Autonomous Region.
– Mark Dwyer: spatial modelling of pasture use by Komi reindeer herders
– Janne Flora: suicide and personhood in Greenland.
– Stephanie Irlbacher Fox: the development of political institutions in the Canadian North.
– Otto Habeck: the future of reindeer husbandry in the Komi Republic
– Sean Maher
– Traplines and Tar Sands: an Ethnographic Analysis of Intersecting Economies in a Subarctic Indigenous Community.
– Richard Powell: field practices and environmental science in the Canadian Arctic, 1950-2000.
– Hugo Reinert: political epistemology of reindeer herding in the Norwegian Arctic.
– Elena Khlynovskaya Rockhill: the institutionalisation of children in Magadan.
– Steven Sawhill: environmental diplomacy in the Barents Region; the decentralisation of foreign affairs.
– Olga Ulturgasheva: narrative and concepts of memory among the Eveny of northern Sakha (Yakutia).
– Sam Van Vactor: energy economics and gas pricing in northeast Asia
Kostas Zorbas; patients’ experience of shamanic healing in Tuva, Siberia
Movements: A Comparative Study of Nunavut, Canada and Tuva, Russian Federation.

It is a pity they do not have RSS to follow them. I will have to come back to the old method: memory!

Sundog Light Phenomenon in Manitoba

July 21, 2008 at 6:22 pm | Posted in Photography, Wheater | 1 Comment
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I just received this at my inbox from National Geographic:

Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, “Refuge in White: Winter in a Canadian National Park,” December 2005, National Geographic magazine

A solar phenomenon known as a sundog arcs over the tundra in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Sundogs are fairly common occurrences in the Arctic and Antarctic. They form when the sun is near the horizon and ice crystals high in the sky line up in a way that bends the solar rays like a prism.

This is amazing, isn’t it? So I continued searching:

A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion, plural parhelia, for “beside the sun”) is a common bright circular spot on a solar halo. It is an atmospheric optical phenomenon primarily associated with the reflection or refraction of sunlight by small ice crystals making up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Often, two sun dogs can be seen (one on each side of the sun) simultaneously.

Sundogs typically, but not exclusively, appear when the sun is low, e.g. at sunrise and sunset, and the atmosphere is filled with ice crystal forming cirrus clouds, but diamond dust and ice fog can also produce them. They are often bright white patches of light looking much like the sun or a comet, and occasionally are confused with those phenomena. Sometimes they exhibit a spectrum of colours, ranging from red closest to the sun to a pale bluish tail stretching away from the sun. White sundogs are caused by light reflected off of atmospheric ice crystals, while colored sundogs are caused by light refracted through them. White sundogs are also thought to be caused by the light from the sun reflecting off of water on the ground and focusing the reflected light on the clouds above.

More info on the Wikipedia.

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