Exploring the Arctic: from ancient times to present day
First attempts to penetrate the Arctic Circle can be traced to ancient Greece and the sailor Pytheas, who reached mysterious land at the end of frozen sea and observed ‘aurora’ and the midnight sun. In the Middle Ages, Vikings reached Faroe island and Greenland coast where Erik the Red established a settlement in the year 985, which survived for 5 centuries until the Little Ice Age began. In the 11th-15th centuries Russian Pomors penetrated from the Cola Peninsula far to the east and believed to reach Novaya Zemlya. During 16th-18th centuries great effort has been made to establish new shipping routes and trade connections between Europe, China and India, via the so-called North-East and North-West passages.
In the present day, with fast Arctic sea ice decline these routes become an attractive alternative route connecting East and West, Europe, Americas and Asia. This presentation is devoted to history of Arctic exploration from ancient times to present days. We discuss possible consequences of the Arctic Ocean warming and sea ice melting, such as “Atlantification” of Arctic waters, acidification and impact on ecosystem, impact on the Europe Climate and weather. I will put this historic work in the context of current NOC projects investigating Arctic science.
Some quotes from recent science papers:
“Acidification of Arctic Ocean may threaten marine life, fishing industry”
”Eastern Arctic Ocean found to be undergoing 'Atlantification'”
“The Arctic cod ecosystem under the double pressure of climate change and industrialization”