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Ice-Out Update: February 6, 1998

Ice-Out Updates Will be Posted on FRIDAYS:
Feb. 6, 20, Mar. 6, 20, Apr. 3, 17

"We will be watching the ice on the Chukchi Sea this spring. The breaking up of the sea ice signals the migration of beluga and bowhead whales."

Tikigaq School, Point Hope, Alaska
Official Journey North Ice-Out Observation Post

Today's Report Includes:

Instructions: How to Participate in the Ice-Out Study
In northern regions of North America, the melting of ice cover on lakes, rivers, ponds and oceans is a welcome sign of spring. This event is known as "ice-out", and ice-out dates are an accurate way to measure spring's pace from year to year.

Report the Ice-Out Date of Your Local Waters

No Ice ?
Report NOW!
Here's What You'll Do:
1. Adopt a body of water near you. You may chose a lake, pond, river, stream, bay, estuary--or even an ocean.

2. Check to see whether it's frozen.
  • If NOT FROZEN, please report NOW to Journey North.
  • If FROZEN, plan to Report back to us when ice-out occurs. (We define "ice out" as the time the body of water is 90% free of ice.)

Using this information we can construct a mid-winter map to show the extent of winter's icy grip. As spring advances across the continent, each site will report back when the ice has finally melted.

Official 1998 Ice-out Observation Posts
Strategically placed across the Northern Hemisphere, these 6 official sites will monitor the ice-cover of their local waters. You'll be challenged to guess when the ice will melt at each of these places.




Chukchi Sea Point Hope, Alaska 68.5 N,
66.80 W
Neana River Nenana, Alaska 64.5 N,
49.0 W
Hudson Bay Rankin Inlet,
Northwest Territories
62.60 N,
93.50 W
Lake Minnetonka Minneapolis, Minnesota 44.95 N,
93.54 W
Walden Pond Concord, Massachusetts 42.25 N,
71.25 W
River Teno Utsjoki, Finland (Lapland) 69.883 N,
27.017 E

Today's Challenge Question
Read the message below from Ice-Out Site # 1. Then see if you can answer our first Challenge Question:

Challenge Question # 1
"When do you predict ice-out will occur on the Chukchi Sea near Point Hope, Alaska?"

How to Respond to Challenge Question #1

Greetings from Point Hope, Alaska
An umiaq without its skin covering, sitting on a rack. Also on the rack is a polar bear hide that is drying.
Hello from the Eskimo village of Point Hope, Alaska! We will be watching the ice on the Chukchi sea this spring for signs of ice out. This is important not only because we are looking for signs of spring for Journey North, but because the breaking up of the sea ice signals the migration of beluga and bowhead whales.

When the leads open in the ice, the hunters of the village will take their umiaqs onto the sea ice as they have for thousands of years, and begin the annual whale hunt. Just about every part of the whale is used by the villagers, and the harvesting of 3 or 4 whales each spring is crucial to maintaining a subsistence way of life.

Our village is built on a tattered edge of the North American
continent. We are at the end of a narrow spit of land that stretches 15 miles into the sea from the mainland. The spit is made mostly of gravel deposited by the Kukpuk river. Because it is river deposition, it is constantly changing shape as the waters of the river meet the sea.

This deep into winter, we don't really feel we are living next to the sea. Instead, we feel we are living on a huge continent of ice that stretches around the world. Our village is something most people can't imagine. It is a bit like looking down on a postage stamp in the middle of football field. Also, there are no outskirts of town, or "rural" addresses. The village covers about 3 blocks, and beyond that is just the vastness of the Arctic.

We've already had our first sign of spring--last week the sun rose above the horizon high enough and long enough to cast some pink rays across the snow and ice--the first time since Thanksgiving. It's 25 degrees F. below zero today, but we know spring is on the way!

Sheila Gaquin
Tikigaq School(say Tick'-key-yock)
Point Hope, AK
Tikigaq WWW Site

How to Respond to Journey North Ice-Out Challenge Question # 1
1. Address an e-mail message to:
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 1
3. In the body of the message, give your answer to this question:

Challenge Question # 1

"When do you predict ice-out will occur on the Chukchi Sea near Point Hope, Alaska?"

The Next Ice-Out Update will Be Posted on February 20, 1998.

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