Memorial Day weekend is an excellent time to transplant seedlings, dust off the old apron with a clever grilling saying, or pack for an expedition to uncover the links between bivalve growth patterns and global climate change for the last 6,000 years on a remote island in Arctic Norway. Whatever your family tradition, thanks for joining along on this one in the Frost household.
The departure time for this year’s trip is scheduled for 2:01 pm out of PWM tomorrow (5/26) and approaching fast. The real excitement starts when we reach Norwegian airspace so expect a delay in interesting and/or arctic themed pictures due to travel until later on 5/27 (unless you have a real soft spot for Newark). To provide some perspective on how things will vary from Maine to Ingoya, Norway, I’ve included a few pre-trip images and screenshots...
|Gone Fishin'? Nope, clams...|
A. Rather than the standard “out-of-office” reply, I’ve left a handy piece of electrical tape (complete with circles and arrows) marking my location on the globe atop my desk at Thornton Academy. “I will be back in the office June 10, late, and get back to you as soon as possible.”
B. If you’ve decided that you prefer a more “choose your own adventure” type arctic experience, please try searching “Havoysund” in Google Maps and then drag the hesitant little yellow guy (street-view Steve) as far north as you can on the village’s island. A quick look to the northwest will bring the island of Ingoya into view. “You can’t get there from…”
|Street View? Ingoya across the Barents Sea|
C. In Maine, we all know the saying about what to do if you don’t like the weather. In the Arctic, if you don’t like the sun, wait a few months and it will soon not be a problem, or visible at all for that matter. For now though, it will be out (all the time) once we hit Tromso. To best understand what is happening with the earth-sun geometry I’ve included a few screenshots that show what happens to the sunrise/sunset as you move more northward this time of year.
|If you don't like the weather, just wait a climate Epoch...|
The explanation for how the map’s solar depiction works is in all the screenshots and I really appreciate the permission from Vladimir Agafonkin to let me use his site in this blog. Basically, in all the views you see a shaded band of the sun’s apparent movement in the sky throughout the year. Always in the south for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere with two major variations:
#1 The sun rises in the east and sets in the west due to our daily rotation. Note the two lines on the maps marking their locations...
#2 The sun appears higher in the sky during our summers and provides more direct sunlight thus giving our seasonally warmer weather and making our gardens grow. As we near the solstice in June, the yellow sun-band in the maps will reach toward its uppermost extent.
|Working our way northward...|
In the Arctic, summer sunlight makes its way past our earth’s axis illuminating that section of the globe for all 24 hours of the day below that magic 66.5 degrees of latitude. Geometry aficionados know this from 90 minus our 23.5 degrees of earth’s tilt. Lest I lose your attention further this early in the journey, here’s the major point: move north in the summer, days get longer, sunrise and sunset creep closer together in the night (and closer in the map depiction), eventually they disappear…voila! Now the sun just does a big circle above your head…
|Ingoya: Our soon to be home, no sunrise, no sunset|