My approach to this subject is that of an oceanographer, not a meteorologist; but since much northern development, past, present, and future is closely related to the sea, it is not an inappropriate approach. The Eskimos, or Inuit, are fundamentally a coastal people, living largely on the products of the sea; whalers have used the northern waters extensively, traders have bought, and buy, sea mammal skins and oils, and the present industrial thrust is in part concerned with oil and gas from the northern sea floor or with mining close to the shore. ...
The skull of a small, young adult grizzly bear was discovered in the course of archaeological excavation of an early historic Eskimo house in northern Labrador. This discovery confirms the rumoured presence of Ursus arctos in Labrador in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is suggested that the Labrador grizzly represents an eastward extension of the barren-ground grizzly population across the mouth of Hudson Bay.
The responses of barren-round caribou to fixed-wing aircraft and to helicopters were observed in the northern Yukon and Alaska. Effects of aircraft altitude, type of aircraft, season and terrain were determined together with the activity and size of group of the caribou. Panic reactions or strong escape reactions were observed in a high percentage of all groups when aircraft flew at altitudes of less than 60 metres. Flying at a minimum aircraft altitude of 150 metres during spring and fall migrations, and 300 metres at other periods, would prevent the caribou reacting in the ways most immediately injurious to them.
Characteristics of over 50 tundra fires, located primarily in the western Arctic, are summarized. In general, only recent records were available and the numbers of fires were closely related to the accessibility of the area. Most of them covered areas of less than one square kilometre (in contrast to forest fires which are frequently larger) but three tundra fires on the Seward Peninsula of Alaska burned, in aggregate, 16,000 square kilometres of cottongrass tussocks. Though tundra fires can occur as early as May, most of them break out in July and early August. Biomass decreases, and so fires are more easily stopped by discontinuities in vegetation, with distance northward.
Data obtained during several seasons of field research on a small drainage basin in the Colville River delta of northern Alaska were used in a study of permafrost as an aquaclude for the maintenance of a pond above the regional water table. The development of the active layer of permafrost in the basin and the water budget of the pond were monitored. It was shown that the permafrost table enables the general form of the basin's subaerial surface to be maintained throughout the thaw season. The resulting prevention of percolation, when combined with a low evaporation rate, is sufficient to ensure that the pond is perennial.
Philip A. Chester, former head of the Hudson's Bay Company in North America, who died in Winnipeg on 23 August 1976 at the age of 80, was a founder of the Arctic Institute of North America and a member of its original Board of Governors. He was a firm believer in the importance of scientific research in the North and his Company was the first to support the new Institute financially. He took his responsibilities as a Board member seriously, providing wise counsel to its early officers and assistance to its members working in the field, at a time when government services in the North were few and far between. ... Recognizing that modernization of the fur trade depended for its success on transportation and communication, Philip Chester introduced the use of Company aircraft at a time when there were no aids to navigation and precious few maps. He equipped the trading posts with radio and employed progressive architects to design buildings suited to the special problems of northern construction. He cared very much for the welfare of his employees and provided better housing, special fringe benefits, and such humanizing touches as prizes for the best post gardens. Young Canadian apprentices were recruited for the first time, and the personnel, wherever they might be, soon understood that Mr. Chester not only required good performance but also took a direct interest in them. The Hudson's Bay Company was not alone in changing with the times. Reform of northern government was also on the way, though slower in getting started and uncertain in its direction. When in the nineteen fifties education, health, housing, transportation, and much more were at last acknowledged to be public responsibilities, the old Company did not, as it might well have done, stand in the way of change. When the history of the Canadian North in the present century comes to be written, the name of Philip Chester of the Hudson's Bay Company will stand high among those who led in reforming its administration and improving the conditions of those who live there.