chapter  22
19 Pages

Narwhal Hunters, Seismic Surveys, and the Middle Ice: Monitoring Environmental Change in Greenland’s

ByMelville Bay

Extreme weather events have become increasingly common for the hunters who travel, move, and camp around the coasts, islands, and peninsulas of Melville Bay in northwest Greenland, whether on the sea ice by dog sledge in winter and spring or by small open boats and kayaks in summer and autumn. The hunters remark how shifting currents, more powerful waves, stronger and sharper-edged winds, and seemingly unyielding fi erce storms are becoming a part of daily life, and they experience far more diffi cult ice conditions than they did even just several years ago. They notice that the many glaciers descending from the inland ice to the coast are receding at a fast rate and calving smaller icebergs, that polar bears are found in different places than previously cited, and that marine mammals are either moving into areas that they did not previously frequent or are exhibiting unusual behavior. Some species, such as orca whales and Greenland right whales, are increasingly observed in places where they have not been seen in living memory.