Author: George Divoky (George Divoky)

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The Unpredictability of Ice

Cooper Island, Alaska, July 8, 2009 — Henry David Thoreau wrote that “Ice is a fit subject for contemplation” as he monitored the formation and melt of ice on Walden Pond in the mid 19th century. He had no idea how important monitoring, studying and contemplating Arctic sea ice would become in the late 20th...

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On Cooper Island

Cooper Island, Alaska, July 7, 2009 — I arrived at my field camp on June 15 having chartered a helicopter from Barrow, Alaska, 25 miles west of Cooper Island. The days just before the field season started were full of the typical mixture of excitement for the opportunity to return to this remote Arctic island...

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Depending on Wind and Sun

Cooper Island, Alaska, July 25, 2009 — People frequently mention to me that summer in the Arctic must be really exhilarating because of the “24 hours of daylight”. While this is true, less well known is that the “24 hours of wind” can make living at this latitude somewhat of a chore, no matter how...

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Married to the Arctic

Cooper Island, Alaska, July 12, 2009 — Many bird species are thought to be “Arctic birds” because they migrate to the Arctic every spring, utilize the region’s resources for breeding, and then depart for more southern wintering areas in late summer and early fall, spending the majority of the year well south of the Arctic...

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Getting Ready for Life on the Edge

Seattle, Wash., June 10, 2009 — After over three decades of conducting summer fieldwork on seabirds in Arctic Alaska one would think that pre-field preparations would be a matter of habit and that that the level of anticipation and anxiety associated with heading off to a remote island would be minimal. But as I prepare...

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Preparing for the 2009 Field Season

Seattle, Wash., June 1, 2009 — In 2008 fledging success of black guillemots was again low. Unlike past years, when chicks died as a result of prospecting horned puffins occupying nest sites and a lack of Arctic cod, in 2008 chicks had to deal with snow storms blocking nest entrances and stranded polar bears flipping...