Rambler's Top100





9
Ikummaq, for example, showed how shifting winds were changing the shape
of ice formations used as landmarks by generations, making reading the ter-
rain more difficult.
But "we have lived in this region for centuries and we will continue to,"
he added. "As the climate changes, we will adapt."
The Poles have been two of the regions most affected by climate change.
Temperatures there have risen at twice the rate of the rest of the world, and
some scientists estimate that large areas of the Arctic will be completely ice-
free by the end of the century.
Warm Homecoming
The journey was not an easy one. When the expedition set off during the
dark days of late February, wind chills often dropped to minus 50 degrees
Fahrenheit (minus 46 degrees Celsius).
The route led the team across ice caps, frozen rivers, thawing ice. Still,
the open ice allowed the team to quickly cover their last 400 miles (640 ki-
lometers) including a crossing of the Barnes Ice Cap, a remnant of the Ice
Age that is receding like the rest of the ice in the north.
Iglulik turned out all the stops for the returning adventurers. Greeting
them upon their arrival at the frozen edge of the ice was the town's entire
population of 1,600. The Inuit guides were especially glad to return to their
home of Iglulik ("home to the igloo people"), which has been populated for
4,000 years and has long served as the cultural center of Nunavut.
So what did the veteran Steger, who has traveled in the high Arctic for
40 years, learn from his Inuit travel partners? "A lot. About weather and ice
and running dogs. And that even as things are changing here, and changing
fast, the Inuit are changing too," he said. "Theo, Simon, and Lukie and their
experience were quite inspirational to me."
Text 3
Irrigation catastrophes
Irrigation catastrophes have befallen civilizations since the dawn of
time. Archaeological evidence suggests that much of the Sahara was once a green
and pleasant land until depletion of groundwater turned it into desert. The Maya
civilization in Mexico is thought to have ended because of a sudden drought.
In what is now Arizona, Hohokam Indians developed a remarkably sophisti-
cated irrigation system. But too much irrigation waterlogs the ground and
when the water evaporates it leaves salts behind. Just such a lethal salinization
seems to have overtaken the Hohokam who died out suddenly in the early
15
th
century. Researchers maintain that, with the single exception of Egypt,
no civilization based on irrigation has survived for long either because the
water has run out or because of silt or salinization.