What is the Arctic region?
Arctic Information Sources
The Arctic region surrounding the North Pole, to which Finland belongs, is by its nature a unique area. The cultures in the region and the Arctic indigenous peoples have adapted to its cold and extreme conditions. From the perspective of the physical, chemical and biological balance in the world, the Arctic region is in a key position. It reacts sensitively particularly to changes in the climate, which reflect extensively back on the global state of the environment. From the perspective of research into climatic change, the Arctic region is considered a so-called-early warning system.
There are many definitions for the Arctic region. The boundary is generally considered to be north of the Arctic Circle (66° 33’N), which is the limit of the midnight sun and the winter twilight. In international cooperation, the Finnish Arctic region is the northern part of the Province of Lapland above the Arctic Circle. In the natural sciences, this area is a so-called subarctic region.
Settlement in the Arctic regions
Arctic areas are inhabited approximately by four million people according to the AHDR (Arctic Human Development Report) definition of the Arctic. The settlement area is divided between eight Arctic countries; Canada, United States, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark. The circumpolar region is extremely sparsely populated. Using more broad definition, according to the University of the Arctic Atlas, there are approximately 13.1 million people living in the area of the circumpolar North, see the map of population centres in the circumpolar Arctic.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the number of Arctic people started to grow rapidly because of improved health care for indigenous populations and the discovery of vast natural resources located in North which led to a large influx of immigrants. Recently population growth in the Arctic has slowed down in general and in some cases (e.g. Russian North) the total population has been even declining. It is estimated that two thirds of the total population lives in relatively large settlements. The settlement of the indigenous peoples living in circumpolar countries is characterized by small, widely scattered communities.
A Day at the Northwest Passage in July 2017
How does one day in the Northwest Passage looks like in July 2017? Arctia’s multipurpose icebreaker Nordica made an Arctic 100 Expedition and did transit the Northwest Passage (NWP) in July 2017. The NWP is a sea route connecting the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. One of the explorers was Ari Laakso, the Science Communicator of the Arctic Centre, who filmed the time-lapse video from the journey:
“This time-lapse video is made of pictures taken during days 16 and 17 (21.-22.7) of our 24-day long journey along the Northwest Passage. During this time, we were entering Franklin Strait and saw polar bears for the first time.
As we were far into the Northwest passage and far above the Arctic circle, the sun never set. As can be seen from the pictures, the weather was just amazing. The camera was mounted inside the ship, in the dayroom. The pictures were taken at a rate of 1 picture per 30 seconds during the whole 24-day long trip from Vancouver to Nuuk.”