Monday, August 10, 2015

The Melting Arctic

From June 1818 Edinburgh Review:


  1. That "Northwest Passage" idea hung around for a long time.

    I think one ship--maybe more--disappeared on the quest to find an open sea passage around North America.

    Interestingly, there was enough knowledge of the typical edge of the ice-pack to notice a retreat of the ice-pack.

    At first I thought this odd, then I remembered that Latitude is much easier to find on the open seas than Longitude. (The method most often used by navigators of that time was to measure the elevation of Polaris in the sky at night.)

    Thus, I presume that Captains of whaling-boats, accustomed to scouting the edge of the ice-pack for whales, had a good idea of the Latitude that ice-pack ended at. And could compare notes, and notice a multi-year retreat of that edge.

  2. Maybe this is what got the Franklin Expeditikn in trouble thirty-odd years later?