The writer points out that Inuit communities depend more on the ringed seal than on the harp seal in economic terms. The ringed seal is a primary food resource and the sale of the skins of ringed seals provide a significant portion of the cash income of the Inuit. The public protests against the killing of the baby harp seals has also affected the hunting of ringed seals. While the price for harp seal skins has remained fairly stable, the demand for the rough ringed seal skins has gone down, affecting adversely the Inuit economy in the north.
Geomorphic processes and vegetational change along the Meade River sand bluffs in northern Alaska
Arctic, v. 31, no. 1, Mar. 1978, p. 7-23, ill., charts
ASTIS record 412
Geomorphic processes within the region of sand deposits on the Alaskan Arctic coastal plain bring about changes in local environments, and consequently in local vegetation, through time. Geomorphic processes and vegetational patterns on bluffs are related to the directions which the bluffs face with respect to prevailing winds. Caribou and ground squirrels augment wind erosion of the bluffs by disturbing the vegetation while grazing, trampling or burrowing. Environmentally induced vegetational changes resulting from continued geomorphic and animal disturbances are more common than autogenic successions which, being generally accompanied by rising permafrost, help to stabilize sands. Vegetational sequences existing along the bluffs result from the interaction of both linear and cyclic changes in the ecosystem.
The maximum extent of the Laurentide Ice Sheet along the east coast of North America during the last glaciation
Arctic, v. 31, no. 1, Mar. 1978, p. 24-53, maps (some folded)
ASTIS record 413
During the last hundred years, two widely opposing views of the maximum extent of the Laurentide Ice Sheet have prevailed at different times. Between 1860 and 1940, it was assumed that ice extent along the eastern seaboard was limited and that ice-free areas persisted during the Maximum of the Last Glaciation. After 1940, this interpretation was replaced by one contending that all high coastal mountains were inundated. This view, proposed by the late R.F. Flint, was widely accepted as fact until the last few years. This paper reviews the opposing interpretations and analyses the frequently equivocal field evidence and the developments of thought responsible for them. On the basis of field work carried out over the last twenty years, it is suggested that the earlier viewpoint was the more accurate. A map is presented of the author's conclusions regarding maximum ice limits.
Widespread fires occurred on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska, during the summer of 1977. During this period there was also one large natural fire in the northern part of the state. Presumably caused by lightening, it occurred due east of Point Lay and several kilometres southwest of the Kokolik River (69 30 N, 161 50 W) on the boundary between the coastal plain and the northern foothills .... This was the farthest north a fire had ever been fought by the personnel of BLM in Alaska. No tundra fires had previously been reported from this area, .... Climatic conditions in northern and western Alaska during the summer of 1977, ... were apparently ideal for tundra fires. The information on the spread of the fire, as presented in this short paper, was gathered from Landsat imagery, meteorological observations, facts concerning the natural containment of the fire, and investigations of the affected area following the fire.
... In May 1977, impulse radar was used to profile the thickness of an ice island and the first-year sea-ice near our camp site on Narwhal Island, Alaska. At this location, a small fragment of a multi-year pressure ridge was found with good access to the ridge crest. The impulse radar system was taken to the ridge so that it could be used to ascertain if thick multi-year ice could be measured and if the thickness of the ridge along the crest could be profiled. A cross-sectional profile of the ridge was not attempted, because the ice surface was buried under a thick layer of drift snow. The impulse radar profiling system consisted of an electronics console, a graphic recorder and an antenna. The system and its operational characteristics have been described in several publications. The radar antenna was pulled for a distance of 21 metres along the top of the ridge. ... The signal information shown is the travel time of the radar impulse signal to and from the various reflecting surfaces. These include the surface of the ridge, internal block structure, and the irregular surface of the keel. ... This report demonstrates the potential usefulness of impulse radar for determining the thickness of multi-year pressure ridges. ...
Alf Erling Posild was well known and highly respected among biologists in both America and Europe. His research was meticulous, and rested solidly upon a clear understanding of the materials he worked with and of the theoretical concepts within which he operated. Born in Copenhagen, he spent much of his childhood in Greenland and spoke the Greenlandic Eskimo language fluently. He and his brother both worked in Greenland and learning how little was known about the flora of Greenland and the North American Arctic, set about planning a botanical expedition of their own on Baffin Island when they were suddenly invited by the Canadian government to undertake a survey of reindeer grazing potentials in northern Alaska and the Northwest Territories. Erling spent the next ten years on the reindeer study; his brother remaining with him for approximately half of that time. The brothers first went to Alaska where they studied the reindeer herds and their grazing habits. They made extensive trips in Northern Alaska and through the vast expanse that lies between Great Bear Lake and the Arctic Ocean, and between the Mackenzie and Coppermine rivers. In the course of evaluating grazing possibilities, they also collected flora. Erling set up, manned, and arranged to supply, a reindeer research station on the east side of the Mackenzie Delta. The Eskimos, being a nomadic hunting people, showed no ability or interest in herding domesticated livestock, and Erling himself went to Lapland to engage suitable teachers for them. Erling returned to Ottawa in 1935 and started to turn out a stream of publications based on his studies of the boreal American flora. In the following year he was appointed Acting Chief Botanist at the National Museum of Canada in Ottawa. In 1946 he became Chief Botanist at the National Museum of Canada, a position which he held until he retired in 1967. He was awarded a great many honours, one being Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America. His life was a saga of unique experiences and accomplishments. Erling Porsild died in Vienna on 13 November 1977. His older brother, Robert, died a few weeks later at his home in Whitehorse, Y.T. - on 30 December.