Warm February at the Arctic

Water over ice on the Deatnu river.
Water over ice on the Deatnu river.

It has been an unlikely February (although not surprising) up at 70 degrees of Northern latitude. A few days back the temperatures rose to +4C in Deatnu river valley! Even at tundra I was skiing in plus centigrades. In February.

What it means that once the temps drop again, the animals up at the fell plateau are going to have real hard time finding food through the hard snow layer. Arctic foxes and snowy owls can’t break through and find lemmings, rock ptarmigans can’t find cover inside soft snow, the lemmings can’t live between ice cover and vegetation and the reindeer use unsustainable amounts of energy trying to dig food through the hard layer. To sum it up, this is exactly the kind of ecosystem wide disaster that the climate change imposes. The animals adapted to the arctic winter conditions can’t survive if the snow melts and freezes now and then due to global warming.

Not all hope is lost. There is tons of snow up on the fell plateau once you climb higher but the real danger is that the area suitable for arctic animals degreases further. The fells are only as high.

2014-web-0077
A fox has run over tundra.

Just to give you an idea what it is to shoot in tundra this time of the year, the most important tool for a photographer is the snow shovel. You are going to do lots of shoveling morning and night all winter long. In the end photography is just a tiny fraction of your daily activities.

Every second day. Dig in - dig out.
Every day. Dig in – dig out.

That’s it for now. Have still some business to run before heading back to tundra. See ya all in a bit.

-A

Fat burner v2014.
Fat burner v2014.
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