thousands of years, Iñupiaq Eskimos have hunted
bowhead whales from the sea ice. Now this hunting platform
is becoming thinner and more dangerous.
Iñupiaq Eskimos live in a warming land - the
North Slope of
As global climate change continues to heat up the Arctic,
the Iñupiaq culture faces an uncertain future.
Arctic Thaw, you will meet some of the scientists who
study climate change, see Iñupiaq villagers come
together to harvest a bowhead after a successful hunt,
and enjoy Kivgiq, a festival that brings villages together
to celebrate the Iñupiaq whaling tradition.
presents the essential science of one of humanity's most
exciting challenges - global climate change - and an intimate
view of a culture that's facing it head-on.
Featured in MOSAIC 2007, an annual multicultural literature exhibit hosted by Lincoln (NE) Public Schools Library Media Services. The exhibit featured the best and most current multicultural titles from 2006-2007.
Adopted for the latest edition of the Kansas Reading Circle catalog, intermediate level
2007 Society of School Librarians International Honor Book
"[A] timely photo-essay. ..."
"A perfect book to help young people understand how the world is changing and why that matters, but in a way that won't overwhelm them."
"A somewhat sobering, yet upbeat examination of the probable effects of global warming on the culture of the Iñupiaq whale hunters of Alaska’s North Slope. ...Lively, straightforward text. ...Numerous full-color photos and helpful maps and diagrams enrich the package. ...This book should find space on library shelves along with [Lourie's} other titles. ...An up-to-the-minute window into a fast-changing world — with hopeful overtones."
—School Library Journal
—Aiken Standard, SC
"Experienced ecological writer Peter Lourie places the issue of global warming firmly on the ground (or permafrost, or ice) of Alaska's North Slope, with three visits to Barrow in September, February and April. He accompanies climate-change scientist Paul Shepson, who does not quarrel with the idea of global warming but is more interested in discussing how we confront the challenge. We watch scientists and the native Inupiat exchange information, share seasonal rituals and consider the future. The explanation of whaling makes clear that the native practices do not stress the bowhead whale population. Lourie's photographs are complemented by highly specific explanations of scientific and indigenous realities."
to Barrow, Alaska
on the ice
Inupiat are cutting through a particularly jumbled pressure ridge to get
out farfar enough to set up camps and wait for the spring migration of
the road photos
photos from the arctic
September, February, and now April, I made three trips to Barrow to research
for a book on climate change. Here's a great site to learn more about
Inupiaq whale subsistence:
The following discussion and associated images of the scientific study of
bowhead whales are derived from presentations given by J. Craig George of the
North Slope Borough, Department of Wildlife Management.
in Barrow right now
Dr. Shepson, February 2005
Craighead George and her son Craig in Barrow
Arctic Climate Impact
year I'll be making three trips to Alaska to write about global warming. I
hope to record
the work of atmospheric scientist Dr.
Paul "Shep" Shepson of
Purdue University and his graduate
students who are conducting experiments through the
winter in Barrow. I
also intend to document the native views on global change,
and collect information in words and on video tape that
can be used for educating children around the world about
this important issue.
Check out this Oct. 7, 2003 article in
The Christian Science Monitor (Alaska's
not-so-permanent frost by Yereth Rosen).
You'll notice some comments here by the son of the children's
book writer Jean Craighead George. Craig George lives
in Barrow and has been studying whales there for nearly
a decade. I'll be visiting him next fall when I accompany
Professor Shepson to Barrow.
the Hole is Over Antarctica
Why is the ozone hole over Antarctica?
That is one of the first questions that comes to mind
when people think about the ozone hole/
During the Antarctic winter, an oval-shaped
polar vortex is formed over the south pole area. The vortex
brings ozone-rich air from above, and ozone-poor air is
pushed out. The vortex is extremely cold, reaching temperatures
of -80 degrees Celsius (-86 degrees Fahrenheit), and these
cold conditions help cause large clouds to form in the
atmosphere. The clouds in the extreme cold gradually absorb
nitrogen oxide, which is stored in crystals of nitric
acid inside of the clouds. As the cloud of water
and nitric acid starts to grow, it can grow to the point
where it covers the entire Antarctic region. When
sunlight passes through the cloud, ozone-destroying chlorine
and chlorine oxide are formed from the inactive chlorine
and nitric acid in the cloud.
Is this clear? Actually, I'm
still lingering back there on the question itself....
The chlorine and chlorine oxide can count
for up to 70% of the ozone depletion over Antarctica each