Canada’s Boreal called the Amazon of the North

George River caribou in northern Quebec ~ photo by Valerie Courtois

George River caribou in northern Quebec ~ photo by Valerie Courtois

May 21, 2013 _ From caribou herds to landlocked seals, Canada’s boreal forest is rich in biodiversity treasures and just as worthy of global attention and protection as the Amazon, according to two leading conservation groups.

A report to be released Wednesday by the Boreal Songbird Initiative and Ducks Unlimited lists 10 top biodiversity hot spots in Canada’s boreal forest, which encompass large swaths of the landscape.

“We are trying to get people – especially people who live in these northern lands – to realize they have areas as special as the tropics,” says co-author Jeff Wells, science and policy director at the Boreal Songbird Initiative, a non-profit based in the United States.

More than 10 million birds a day are now streaming across the Canada-U.S. border to summer in Canada’s boreal, he says, noting that as many as three billion birds make the trip during spring migration. Continue reading

Advertisements

Melting glaciers in Canada’s Arctic stoking sea-level rise

 

Researcher heading for a time-lapse camera  monitoring ice calving from the Belcher Glacier on  Devon Island, Nunavut. Photo ~ Alex Gardner

Researcher heading for a time-lapse camera monitoring ice calving from the Belcher Glacier on Devon Island, Nunavut.
Photo ~ Alex Gardner

May 16, 2013 _ The Laurentide ice sheet once entombed Canada in two kilometres of ice, but all that is left is a blob of ice on Baffin Island now shrinking at a remarkable rate.

A new study says glaciers around the world are contributing almost as much to the rise of the world’s oceans as the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets combined.

“And the largest contributor of all the regions is the Canadian Arctic,” says US glaciologist Alex Gardner, at Clark University, lead author the international study to be published Friday in the journal Science. Continue reading

World’s oldest water bubbling into Northern Ontario mine

Ancient gas and water that flows out of boreholes and rock fractures 2.4 km underground in a copper-zinc mine near Timmins mine. ~ photo by B. Sherwood Lollar

Ancient gas and water that flows out of boreholes and rock fractures 2.4 km underground in a copper-zinc mine near Timmins mine. ~ photo by B. Sherwood Lollar

May 14, 2013 _  Miners drilling deep underground in northern Ontario have long known about the sparkling salty water.

It’s been bubbling out of the rocks beneath their feet since the 1880s, but no one really appreciated the significance — until now.

An international research team reported Wednesday that miners near Timmins are tapping into an ancient underground oasis that may harbour prehistoric microbes. The water flowing out of fractures and bore holes in one mine near Timmins dates back  more than a billion years,  perhaps 2.6 billion, making it the oldest water known to exist on Earth, says the team that details the discovery in the journal Nature.

“This is the oldest (water) anybody has been able to pull out, and quite frankly, it changes the playing field,” says geologist Barbara Sherwood Lollar, at the University of Toronto, who co-led the team. Continue reading

Can Canada’s sensational spacemen find happiness back on Earth

Chris Hadfield says it's "good to know" his suit still fits after five months in orbit ~ Chris Hadfield CSA/NASA Photo

Chris Hadfield says it’s “good to know” his suit still fits after five months in orbit ~ Chris Hadfield CSA/NASA Photo

Published May 11, 2013 _ Chris Hadfield, also known as “the coolest guy in outer space,” will soon be packing up his camera, guitar and keyboard for his descent back to Earth next week. But what, exactly, does he return to? Is any career back on solid ground going to be enough?

The 53-year-old farm boy from southern Ontario is due to blaze across the sky in a Russian Soyuz capsule Monday evening before landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

His five-month mission to the International Space Station, where Hadfield has been both commander and seemingly non-stop entertainer, has been a sensation. He has enchanted millions with quirky videos, stunning photographs and often-poetic tweets. “This man has single-handedly made space sexy again,” one of his more than 750,000 followers tweeted recently. Continue reading