Arctic News Roundup: 31 January – 6 February

Nordic flags, including the Sámi flag, centre, on display in Kirkenes, Norway [Photo by Marc Lanteigne]

by Mingming Shi

1) The Guardian published a photo essay, organised by photographer ​​Dmitry Kokh, featuring polar bears in Kolyuchin, Russia. Kolyuchin used to be an Arctic weather station during the Soviet era, however, but the facilities ceased operations in 1992. Afterwards, the site began to be occupied by the local fauna, including polar bears which are using abandoned buildings as shelters from hunters.

2) The Barents Observer reported that Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who was elected last year, made a keynote speech during his visit to Tromsø, a town above the Arctic Circle. Støre’s comments focused on two topics, namely how best to handle the relationship with its neighbour Russia, especially given the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine, and second, to best maintain low tensions in the high north.

3) According to the Greenlandic news service KNR, the Government of Greenland has been considering joining the Paris Agreement, with the same model of the Faroe Islands. This move would mean that Greenland would not be directly tied to the environmental obligations of Denmark, if it Nuuk successfully sign ups to the Agreement as a separate entity. 

4) As written in Scientific American, scientists have discovered that Arctic krill, tiny crustaceans which inhabit the Arctic Ocean, can adjust both their behaviour and biological clocks by sensing the  extremely delicate shifts in light, even during the dark Polar Nights in the far north.

5) February 6 marked the National Day for the Sámi people in the Nordic-Arctic region. This date can be traced back to the same day in 1917, when Sámi groups from Norway and Sweden held the first Sámi Congress in Trondheim, Norway. However, the formal day was not established until 1992.