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Gianna Gruen | Reporter's Log

Exploring the North (1): The Arctic circle

Freezing temperatures, darkness, vast icy landscapes –  that’s  what I’m expecting within the next days as I journey northwards through Sweden and Norway. Maybe those are just stereotypes I have as I travel towards the Artic circle (and actually even cross it into the Artic region). I’ll soon find out. But I’d like to take you along on my exciting journey.

Credit: Map courtesy The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection. Treeline added at NSIDC based on information from National Geographic 1983, Armstrong et al. 1978, and Young 1989.

What is so special about the Arctic circle?

The circle of 66,65° latitude (commonly) defined as the Arctic circle, above which the sun doesn’t rise or set for at least 24 hours a year. In fact, in most regions these states last for several month of the year. Additionally, temperatures can fall below -70 degree Celsius and usually do not rise higher than 10 degrees in summer. That may not sound very comforting. But, actually there are several animals, plant species (there are more than 400 flowers that can only be found North of the Arctic circle) and people who live and flourish here – traditionally as well as for research purposes.

Because living beings have to be well-adapted to such tough conditions in order to survive, the regions and its inhabitants are especially sensitive to changes due to global warming. Scientific measurements showed that temperatures in the polar regions are two to three times quicker than in other regions. That is why it is said to be the planet’s early warning system.

What’s next on this journey?

I’d like to show you how a relatively rich country like Sweden harnesses green energy sources – and why some people protest against it. In addition, I hope to introduce to you some non-human climate rescuers.

You can follow my journey here on the Global Ideas Blog and see my travel route on this map:

Journey to the Arctic circle auf einer größeren Karte anzeigen

(Green icons: been there, blue icons: places to visit later on)


March 5, 2013



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