Arctic Explorers: Overview

Modern Explorers

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In 1995 explorer Will Steger left Siberia, crossed the frozen Arctic Ocean over the North Pole and arrived at northern Canada’s Ward Hunt ice shelf, the largest ice sheet in the Arctic. An ice shelf is a glacier that extends out over the ocean, floating on the surface of the water. Early explorer Robert Peary first recorded observations of the Ward Hunt ice sheet in the early 1900s. By comparing Peary’s records to modern observations, Steger knew that the ice sheet had been shrinking. In 2002 the Ward Hunt ice sheet broke apart. Steger and other explorers witness these changes and help draw public attention to the changing climate of the polar regions.

Steger’s 2008 expedition to the High Arctic will focus attention on the remnants of Ellesmere Island’s Ayles ice shelf which broke apart in 2005. Pieces of what was once the Ayles ice shelf are now floating down the coast of Ellesmere Island.

Modern Explorer Profiles

Richard Weber Lonnie Dupre Börge Ousland Anne Bancroft Paul Schurke Will Steger
Richard
Weber
Lonnie
Dupre
Börge
Ousland
Anne
Bancroft
Paul
Schurke
Will
Steger

 


Young Explorers

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A new generation of polar explorers is emerging. Six of these young people are accompanying Will Steger on his Global Warming 101 expedition to Ellesmere Island in the Canadian high Arctic. Meet these young explorers and follow their expedition.

Young Explorer Profiles

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Tobias
Thorleifsson
Ben
Horton
Sigrid
Ekran
Sam
Branson

 


Historic Explorers

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Some early expeditions were successful in reaching the High Arctic. The first explorers’ confidence in western methods and the technology of the day, however, did not prepare them for the harsh Arctic conditions.

Questions:

  1. When you explore your home region, what do you discover?
  2. When you read historical records of the climate in your home or talk with elder members of your community, what changes do you find?
  3. How can you share your discoveries with others?

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