A meridian is the half of an imaginary great circle on the Earths surface, terminated by the North Pole and the South Pole, connecting points of equal longitude. The position of a point along the meridian is given by its latitude indicating how many degrees north or south of the Equator the point is, each meridian is perpendicular to all circles of latitude. Each is the length, being half of a great circle on the Earths surface. Most maps show the lines of longitude, the position of the prime meridian has changed a few times throughout history, mainly due to the transit observatory being built next door to the previous one. Such changes had no significant practical effect, the average error in the determination of longitude was much larger than the change in position. The adoption of WGS84 as the system has moved the geodetic prime meridian 102.478 metres east of its last astronomic position. The position of the current geodetic prime meridian is not identified at all by any kind of sign or marking in Greenwich, but can be located using a GPS receiver.
The term meridian comes from the Latin meridies, meaning midday, the same Latin stem gives rise to the terms a. m. and p. m. used to disambiguate hours of the day when utilizing the 12-hour clock. Therefore, a compass needle will be parallel to the magnetic meridian, the angle between the magnetic and the true meridian is the magnetic declination, which is relevant for navigating with a compass. Searchable PDF prepared by the author, C. A. White, resources page of the U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management Meridian
Peary Land is a peninsula in northern Greenland, extending into the Arctic Ocean. Peary Land is bounded by Lincoln Sea and Wandel Sea of the Arctic Ocean in the north, oodaaq island, the northernmost point of land of the world, lies off the north coast. Frederick E. Hyde Fjord, which cuts into Peary Land from the east 150 km deep, divides it into Northern Peary Land, the coastline is deeply indented by smaller fjords. Peary Land is not part of any municipality, but is part of the Northeast Greenland National Park, the size of the region is about 375 km east-west and 200 km north-south, with an estimated area of 57000 km2. It is only a bit more than 700 km south of the North Pole and it is free of Greenlands inland ice cap. Being mostly north of the 82°N parallel, it contains the most northerly ice-free region of the world, precipitation levels are so low that it is called a polar desert. It was not covered by glaciers during the most recent ice age, however, in its western part, there is a local icecap, Hans Tausen Icecap, with ice at least 344 m thick.
However, there are unnamed elevations reaching up to 1,950 m in the heavily glaciated Roosevelt Range, Peary Land was believed to be an island, separated from the main island by Peary Channel, an assumed connection between Victoria Fjord and Independence Fjord. Caribou and musk oxen are supported by the vegetation, which covers only about 5% of the surface. Other fauna includes Arctic fox, polar wolf, polar bear, one to two million years ago, when climates were warmer, trees such as larch, black spruce, birch and thuja grew in the northernmost Peary Land. Peary, who first explored it during his expedition of 1891 to 1892, there are two Arctic research stations on Jørgen Brønlund Fjord, Brønlundhus and Kap Harald Moltke. Both stations were built on initiative of Eigil Knuth, and have been the basis for scientific expeditions. Kap Harald Moltke station was in connection with use of the natural runway east of Jørgen Brønlund Fjord mouth. The stations located 10 km from each other on side of the fjord, with Brønlundhus on the western side.
Since the death of Eigil Knuth, the stations are administered by Peary Land Foundation, today, Brønlundhus can be characterised as a museum, with a collection of artefacts from polar explorations
The beluga whale or white whale is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. It is one of two members of the family Monodontidae, along with the narwhal, and the member of the genus Delphinapterus. This marine mammal is commonly referred to as the beluga, melonhead and it is adapted to life in the Arctic, so has anatomical and physiological characteristics that differentiate it from other cetaceans. Amongst these are its all-white colour and the absence of a dorsal fin and it possesses a distinctive protuberance at the front of its head which houses an echolocation organ called the melon, which in this species is large and deformable. The belugas body size is between that of a dolphins and a true whales, with growing up to 5.5 m long and weighing up to 1,600 kg. This whale has a stocky body, a large percentage of its weight is blubber, as is true of many cetaceans. Its sense of hearing is highly developed and its echolocation allows it to move about, belugas are gregarious and form groups of up to 10 animals on average, although during the summer, they can gather in the hundreds or even thousands in estuaries and shallow coastal areas.
They are slow swimmers, but can dive to 700 m below the surface and they are opportunistic feeders and their diets vary according to their locations and the season. The majority of live in the Arctic Ocean and the seas and coasts around North America and Greenland. They are migratory and the majority of groups spend the winter around the Arctic ice cap, some populations are sedentary and do not migrate over great distances during the year. The native peoples of North America and Russia have hunted belugas for many centuries and they were hunted commercially during the 19th century and part of the 20th century. Whale hunting has been under control since 1973. Currently, only certain Inuit and Alaska Native groups are allowed to carry out hunting of belugas. Other threats include natural predators, contamination of rivers, and infectious diseases, of seven Canadian beluga populations, the two inhabiting eastern Hudson Bay and Ungava Bay are listed as endangered. Belugas are one of the most commonly kept cetaceans in captivity and are housed in aquariums and wildlife parks in North America and they are popular with the public due to their colour and expression.
The beluga was first described in 1776 by Peter Simon Pallas and it is a member of the Monodontidae family, which is in turn part of the parvorder Odontoceti. The Irrawaddy dolphin was once placed in the family, recent genetic evidence suggests these dolphins belong to the Delphinidae family. The narwhal is the other species within the Monodontidae besides the beluga
Greenland ice sheet
The Greenland ice sheet is a vast body of ice covering 1,710,000 square kilometres, roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland. It is the second largest ice body in the world, after the Antarctic ice sheet, the ice sheet is almost 2,400 kilometres long in a north-south direction, and its greatest width is 1,100 kilometres at a latitude of 77°N, near its northern margin. The mean altitude of the ice is 2,135 metres, the thickness is generally more than 2 km and over 3 km at its thickest point. It is not the only ice mass of Greenland – isolated glaciers, if the entire 2,850,000 cubic kilometres of ice were to melt, it would lead to a global sea level rise of 7.2 m. The Greenland Ice Sheet is sometimes referred to under the term inland ice, or its Danish equivalent and it is sometimes referred to as an ice cap. From about 11 million years ago to 10 million years ago, the Greenland Ice Sheet formed in the middle Miocene by coalescence of ice caps and glaciers. There was an intensification of glaciation during the Late Pliocene, Ice sheet formation occurred in connection to uplift of the West Greenland and East Greenland uplands.
The Western and Easter Greenland mountains constitute passive continental margins that were uplifted in two phases,10 and 5 million years ago, in the Miocene epoch, computer modelling shows that the uplift would have enabled glaciation by producing increased orographic precipitation and cooling the surface temperatures. The oldest known ice in the current ice sheet is as old as 110,000 years, if the ice suddenly disappeared, Greenland would most probably appear as an archipelago, at least until isostasy lifted the land surface above sea level once again. The ice surface reaches its greatest altitude on two elongated domes, or ridges. The southern dome reaches almost 3,000 metres at latitudes 63°–65°N, the crests of both domes are displaced east of the centre line of Greenland. The unconfined ice sheet does not reach the sea along a broad front anywhere in Greenland, the ice margin just reaches the sea, however, in a region of irregular topography in the area of Melville Bay southeast of Thule.
The best known of these outlet glaciers is Jakobshavn Glacier, which, at its terminus, on the ice sheet, temperatures are generally substantially lower than elsewhere in Greenland. The lowest mean annual temperatures, about −31 °C, occur on the part of the north dome. During winter, the ice sheet takes on a clear blue/green color, during summer, the top layer of ice melts leaving pockets of air in the ice that makes it look white. The ice sheet, consisting of layers of compressed snow from more than 100,000 years, in the past decades, scientists have drilled ice cores up to 4 kilometres deep. This variety of climatic proxies is greater than in any other natural recorder of climate, many scientists who study the ice melt in Greenland consider that a two or three °C temperature rise would result in a complete melting of Greenland’s ice. Positioned in the Arctic, the Greenland ice sheet is especially vulnerable to climate change, Arctic climate is believed to be now rapidly warming and much larger Arctic shrinkage changes are projected
The ringed seal, known as the jar seal and as netsik or nattiq by the Inuit, is an earless seal inhabiting the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. The ringed seal is a small seal, rarely greater than 1.5 m in length, with a distinctive patterning of dark spots surrounded by light grey rings. Ringed seals are one of the prey of polar bears and have long been a component of the diet of indigenous people of the Arctic. The ringed seal is the smallest and most common seal in the Arctic, with a head, short cat-like snout. Its coat is dark with silver rings on the back and sides with a silver belly, depending on subspecies and condition, adult size can range from 100 to 175 cm and weigh from 32 to 140 kg. The seal averages about 5 ft long with a weight of about 50–70 kg and this species is usually considered the smallest species in the true seal family, although several related species, especially the Baikal seal, may approach similarly diminutive dimensions. Their small front flippers have claws more than 1 inch thick that are used to maintain breathing holes through 6.5 ft thick ice, the taxonomy of ringed seal has been much debated and revised in the literature.
Due to its range, as many as ten subspecies have been described. The ringed seal is most closely related to the Caspian seal and Baikal seal, all of which share similar small sizes, features of skull morphology and affinity for ice. The closest phylogenetic relatives to the seal are the grey seal. Together with the northern latitude ice seals, these seals constitute the subfamily Phocinae. Ringed seals occur throughout the Arctic Ocean and they can be found in the Baltic Sea, the Bering Sea and the Hudson Bay. They prefer to rest on ice floe and will move north for denser ice. Two subspecies can be found in freshwater, Ringed seals have a circumpolar distribution from approximately 35°N to the North Pole, occurring in all seas of the Arctic Ocean. In the North Pacific, they are found in the southern Bering Sea and range as far south as the seas of Okhotsk, throughout their range, ringed seals have an affinity for ice-covered waters and are well adapted to occupying seasonal and permanent ice.
They tend to prefer large floes and are found in the interior ice pack where the sea ice coverage is greater than 90%. They remain in contact with ice most of the year and pup on the ice in late winter-early spring, distribution in Alaska, Ringed seals are found throughout the Beaufort and Bering Seas, as far south as Bristol Bay in years of extensive ice coverage. During late April through June, ringed seals are distributed throughout their range from the ice edge northward
The term Danish Realm refers to the relationship between Denmark proper, the Faroe Islands and Greenland—three countries constituting the Kingdom of Denmark. The legal nature of the Kingdom of Denmark is fundamentally one of a sovereign state. The Faroe Islands and Greenland have been part of the Crown of Denmark since 1397 when the Kalmar Union was ratified, legal matters in The Danish Realm are subject to the Danish Constitution. Beginning in 1953, state law issues within The Danish Realm has been governed by The Unity of the Realm, a less formal name for The Unity of the Realm is the Commonwealth of the Realm. In 1978, The Unity of The Realm was for the first time referred to as rigsfællesskabet. The name caught on and since the 1990s, both The Unity of The Realm and The Danish Realm itself has increasingly been referred to as simply rigsfællesskabet in daily parlance. The Danish Constitution stipulates that the foreign and security interests for all parts of the Danish Realm are the responsibility of the Danish government, the Faroes received home rule in 1948 and Greenland did so in 1979.
In 2005, the Faroes received a self-government arrangement, and in 2009 Greenland received self rule, the Danish Realms unique state of internal affairs is acted out in the principle of The Unity of the Realm. This principle is derived from Article 1 of the Danish Constitution which specifies that constitutional law applies equally to all areas of the Danish Realm, the Constitutional Act specifies that sovereignty is to continue to be exclusively with the authorities of the Realm. The language of Denmark is Danish, and the Danish state authorities are based in Denmark, the Kingdom of Denmarks parliament, with its 179 members, is located in the capital, Copenhagen. Two of the members are elected in each of Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The Government ministries are located in Copenhagen, as is the highest court, in principle, the Danish Realm constitutes a unified sovereign state, with equal status between its constituent parts. Devolution differs from federalism in that the powers of the subnational authority ultimately reside in central government.
The Self-Government Arrangements devolves political competence and responsibility from the Danish political authorities to the Faroese, the Faroese and Greenlandic authorities administer the tasks taken over from the state, enact legislation in these specific fields and have the economic responsibility for solving these tasks. The Danish government provides a grant to the Faroese and the Greenlandic authorities to cover the costs of these devolved areas. The 1948 Home Rule Act of the Faroe Islands sets out the terms of Faroese home rule, the Act states. the Faroe Islands shall constitute a self-governing community within the State of Denmark. It establishes the government of the Faroe Islands and the Faroese parliament. The Faroe Islands were previously administered as a Danish county, the Home Rule Act abolished the post of Amtmand and these powers were expanded in a 2005 Act, which named the Faroese home government as an equal partner with the Danish government
This musky odor is used to attract females during mating season. Its Inuktitut name umingmak translates to the bearded one. Muskoxen primarily live in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland, with introduced populations in Sweden, Norway. As members of the subfamily Caprinae of the family Bovidae, muskoxen are more related to sheep and goats than to oxen, they are placed in their own genus. The muskox is one of the two largest extant members of Caprinae, along with the similarly sized takin, the muskoxs closest living relatives appear to be the gorals of the genus Naemorhedus, nowadays common in many countries of central and east Asia. The vague similarity between takin and muskox must therefore be considered an example of convergent evolution, the modern muskox is the last member of a line of ovibovines that first evolved in temperate regions of Asia and adapted to a cold tundra environment late in its evolutionary history. Later migration waves of Asian ungulates that included high-horned muskoxen reached Europe, Euceratherium was larger yet more lightly built than modern muskoxen, looking like a giant sheep with massive horns, and preferred hilly grasslands.
A genus with horns, inhabited Eurasia in the early Pleistocene, from Spain to Siberia. The low-horned Praeovibos was present in Europe and the Mediterranean 1.5 million years ago, colonized Alaska, Praeovibos was a highly adaptable animal that appears associated with cold tundra and temperate woodland faunas alike. It is debated, however, if Praeovibos was directly ancestral to Ovibos, modern Ovibos appeared in Germany almost one million years ago and was common in the region through the Pleistocene. By the Mindel, muskoxen had reached the British Isles, the muskox is known to have survived in Britain during warm interglacial periods. After migrating south during one of the periods of the Illinoian glaciation. The muskox was already present in its current stronghold of Banks Island 34,000 years ago, but the existence of other ice-free areas in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago at the time is disputed. Along with the bison and the pronghorn, the muskox was one of a few species of Pleistocene megafauna in North America to survive the Pleistocene/Holocene extinction event, the muskox is thought to have been able to survive the Last glacial period by finding ice-free areas away from prehistoric peoples.
Fossil DNA evidence suggests that muskoxen were not only more geographically widespread during the Pleistocene, during that time, other populations of muskoxen lived across the Arctic, from the Ural Mountains to Greenland. By contrast, the current genetic makeup of the species is more homogenous, both male and female muskoxen have long, curved horns. Muskoxen stand 1.1 to 1.5 m high at the shoulder, with females measuring 135 to 200 cm in length, the small tail, often concealed under a layer of fur, measures only 10 cm long. Adults, on average, weigh 285 kg and range from 180 to 410 kg, the thick coat and large head suggests a larger animal than the muskox truly is, the bison, to which the muskox is often compared, can weigh up to twice as much. However, heavy zoo-kept specimens have weighed up to 650 kg and their coat, a mix of black and brown, includes long guard hairs that almost reach the ground
A national park is a park in use for conservation purposes. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns, although individual nations designate their own national parks differently, there is a common idea, the conservation of wild nature for posterity and as a symbol of national pride. An international organization, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, although Yellowstone was not officially termed a national park in its establishing law, it was always termed such in practice and is widely held to be the first and oldest national park in the world. The first area to use national park in its legislation was the USs Mackinac Island. Australias Royal National Park, established in 1879, was the third official national park. In 1895 ownership of Mackinac Island was transferred to the State of Michigan as a state park, as a result, Australias Royal National Park is by some considerations the second oldest national park now in existence.
The largest national park in the meeting the IUCN definition is the Northeast Greenland National Park. According to the IUCN,6,555 national parks worldwide met its criteria in 2006, IUCN is still discussing the parameters of defining a national park. National parks are almost always open to visitors, in 1971, these criteria were further expanded upon leading to more clear and defined benchmarks to evaluate a national park. In 1810, the English poet William Wordsworth described the Lake District as a sort of property, in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive. It was known as Hot Springs Reservation, but no authority was established. Federal control of the area was not clearly established until 1877, John Muir is today referred to as the Father of the National Parks due to his work in Yosemite. He published two articles in The Century Magazine, which formed the base for the subsequent legislation. President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act of Congress on July 1,1864, ceding the Yosemite Valley, according to this bill, private ownership of the land in this area was no longer possible.
The state of California was designated to manage the park for use, resort. Leases were permitted for up to ten years and the proceeds were to be used for conservation, a public discussion followed this first legislation of its kind and there was a heated debate over whether the government had the right to create parks. The perceived mismanagement of Yosemite by the Californian state was the reason why Yellowstone at its establishment six years was put under national control, in 1872, Yellowstone National Park was established as the United States first national park, being the worlds first national park. In some European countries, national protection and nature reserves already existed, such as Drachenfels, Yellowstone was part of a federally governed territory
The Arctic fox, known as the white fox, polar fox, or snow fox, is a small fox native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. It is well adapted to living in cold environments and it has a deep thick fur which is brown in summer and white in winter. Its body length ranges from 46 to 68 cm, with a rounded body shape to minimize the escape of body heat. The Arctic fox preys on any small creatures such as, voles, ringed seal pups, waterfowl and it eats carrion, seaweed and other small invertebrates. Arctic foxes form monogamous pairs during the season and they stay together to raise their young in complex underground dens. Occasionally, other members may assist in raising their young. The Arctic fox lives in some of the most frigid extremes on the planet, the fox has a low surface area to volume ratio, as evidenced by its generally compact body shape, short muzzle and legs, and short, thick ears. Since less of its area is exposed to the Arctic cold.
Its paws have fur on the soles for additional insulation and to help it walk on ice and its fur changes color with the seasons, in most populations it is white in the winter to blend in with snow, while in the summer it is greyish-brown or darker brown. In some populations, however, it is a steely bluish-gray in the winter, the fur of the Arctic fox provides the best insulation of any mammal. The Arctic fox has such keen hearing, it can determine exactly where an animal is moving under the snow. When it has located its prey, it pounces and punches through the snow to catch its victim, Arctic foxes do not hibernate and are active all year round. They build up their fat reserves in the autumn, sometimes increasing their weight by more than 50%. This provides greater insulation during the winter and a source of energy when food is scarce and they live in large dens in frost-free, slightly raised ground. These are complex systems of tunnels covering as much as 1,000 m2 and are often in eskers and they have multiple entrances and may have been in existence for many decades and used by many generations of foxes.
Arctic foxes tend to form pairs in the breeding season. Breeding usually takes place in April and May, and the period is about 52 days. Litters tend to average five to eight kits, but exceptionally contain as many as 25, both the mother and father help to raise the young which emerge from the den when 3 to 4 weeks old and are weaned by 9 weeks of age
The snowy owl is a large, white owl of the typical owl family. Snowy owls are native to Arctic regions in North America and Eurasia, males are almost all white, while females have more flecks of black plumage. Juvenile snowy owls have black feathers until they turn white, the snowy owl is a ground nester that predominantly hunts rodents. The snowy owl was one of the bird species originally described by Linnaeus in the landmark 1758 10th edition of his Systema Naturae. The genus name Bubo is Latin for the Eurasian eagle-owl and scandiaca is New Latin for Scandinavia, some authorities debate this classification, still preferring Nyctea. This yellow-eyed, black-beaked white bird is easily recognisable and it is 52–71 cm long, with a 125–150 cm wingspan. Also, these owls can weigh anywhere from 1.6 to 3 kg, the average lifespan in the wild is 9.5 years. It is one of the largest species of owl and, in North America, is on average the heaviest owl species. The adult male is virtually pure white, but females and young birds have dark spots, the young are heavily barred.
Its thick plumage, heavily feathered taloned feet, and colouration render the snowy owl well-adapted for life north of the Arctic Circle. Snowy owl calls are varied, but the call is a barking, almost quacking krek-krek. The song is a deep repeated gahw and they may clap their beak in response to threats or annoyances. While called clapping, it is believed this sound may actually be a clicking of the tongue, the snowy owl is typically found in the northern circumpolar region, where it makes its summer home north of latitude 60° north. However, it is a particularly nomadic bird, and because population fluctuations in its species can force it to relocate. During the last glacial, there was a Central European subspecies, Bubo scandiacus gallicus and this species of owl nests on the ground, building a scrape on top of a mound or boulder. A site with good visibility is chosen, such as the top of a mound with ready access to hunting areas, gravel bars and abandoned eagle nests may be used. The female scrapes a small hollow before laying the eggs, hatching takes place approximately five weeks after laying, and the pure white young are cared for by both parents.
Although the young hatch asynchronously, with the largest in the brood sometimes 10 to 15 times as heavy as the smallest, there is little sibling conflict, both the male and the female defend the nest and their young from predators, sometimes by distraction displays