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The Northern Climate Observer


Telling Trends - A trend, as defined by Oxford, is a "general direction in which a situation is changing or developing." There is no definition for when something actually becomes a trend, so we have to decide for ourselves. We apply our experiences, our own measures and we usually know one when we see one. What qualifies as a scientific trend is more defined. In science we look at the tendency in the data to move in one direction. Identifying trends with anecdotes or science, occupies a lot of time in a rapidly changing world. Because when we don't know where we are going, it is the trajectory, grounded in past events, that gives us something to measure, some clue about what might happen tomorrow. We can't help but look for trends in these news articles and observations. Are the repetitions coincidental or are they a signal of something larger? This week we return to some familiar themes. See the latest episode about the troubles with wild cats in Canada, bears in Alaska, and winter rain in Iceland. Mike Brubaker, Editor

Utqiaġvik, Alaska, United States
Ned Rozell / The Arctic Sounder / February 5, 2021

The open ocean off Utqiagvik in fall and early winter is evidence of climate change. Remarkably, bowhead whales appear to be thriving, although there are new challenges. Kidney-worm infections have been detected in bowheads, possibly brought by other species of whales coming north. And then there are the killer whales, a natural predators of bowheads now venturing north.

Read article on The Arctic Sounder



Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
Betsy Trumpener / CBC / February 22, 2021

A farmer in northern B.C. captured a wild cat he found in his chicken coop, picking it up by the scruff of the neck and gently scolding it before putting it into a dog kennel and relocating it further out in the bush. The lynx was so skinny that the farmer left the two dead chickens with the animal.

Read article on CBC



Haines, Alaska, United States
Chilkat Valley News / Chilkat Valley News / February 18, 2021

When he heard something had bitten his sister, Erik Stevens grabbed a light and went to investigate. "I shined the headlamp and opened the lid, and right there at the level of the toilet seat was a cinnamon-colored bear face, big enough to fill the hole."

Read article on Chilkat Valley News



Seyðisfjörður, East, Iceland
Jelena Ćirić / Iceland Review / February 17, 2021

There was heavy rainfall yesterday across the region. Rain combined with thawing snow and above-freezing temperatures are conditions that increase the likelihood of landslides. The evacuation from six streets was called “precautionary” as authorities are still evaluating whether the slope was destabilized following December landslides.

Read article on Iceland Review



Eikefjord, Kinn, Vestland
Julianne Flølo, Per Kristian Grimeland / NRK / February 18, 2021

In Eikefjorden in Kinn municipality, large quantities of dead horse mackerel recently washed ashore. The whole thing will probably end up as a meal for birds and other fish-interested animals, the police say. The cause of the fish kill remains a mystery.

Read article on NRK



Shanagarry, Munster, Ireland
Lauren Boland / TheJournal.ie / February 14, 2021

In 2020, Seal Rescue Ireland reported the highest number of strandings on record, 202 dead seal reports coming from all over the country. They think one contributing factor is climate change; an increase in the severity and frequency of storms is causing more deaths among pups, from drowning or storm related injuries.

Read article on TheJournal.ie



The Northern Climate Observer is published weekly by the Center for Climate and Health. We track news coverage from across the circumpolar north and provide readers with a curated roundup of climate change related events. Thank you for reading our newsletter and for paying attention to our changing world.

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The Northern Climate Observer is published weekly by the Center for Climate and Health. We track news coverage from across the circumpolar north and provide readers with a curated roundup of climate change related events.

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