Artic Survival


see also subpage HYPOTERMIA and ANTARCTIC


The Arctic is the region around the Earth's North Pole, opposite the Antarctic region around the South Pole. The Arctic includes the Arctic Ocean (which overlies the North Pole) and parts of Canada, Greenland (a territory of Denmark), Russia, the United States (Alaska), Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The word Arctic comes from the Greek word arktos (άρκτος) , which means bear. This is due to the location of the constellation (a group of stars) Ursa Major, the "Great Bear", above the Arctic region.

There are numerous definitions of the Arctic region. The boundary is generally considered to be north of the Arctic Circle (66° 33’N), which is the approximate limit of the midnight sun and the polar night. Other definitions are based on climate and ecology, such as the 10°C (50°F) July isotherm, which roughly corresponds to the tree line in most of the Arctic. Socially and politically, the Arctic region includes the northern territories of the eight Arctic states, including Lapland, although by natural science definitions much of this territory is considered subarctic. 



The Arctic region consists of a vast ice-covered ocean (which is sometimes considered to be a northern arm of the Atlantic Ocean) surrounded by treeless, frozen ground. In recent years the extent of the sea ice has declined, and there is some evidence suggesting Arctic water may be ice-free in summer. Some estimates suggest an ice-free summer Arctic by 2040, or 2100 while a more recent study accompanied by unexpected increased melting in summer 2007 estimates as soon as 2013.However according to the Norwegian International Polar Year Secretariat the arctic polar ice cap would be completely gone by summer 2008 Life in the Arctic includes organisms living in the ice, fish and marine mammals, birds, land animals, and human societies.

The Arctic region is a unique area among Earth's ecosystems. The cultures in the region and the Arctic indigenous peoples have adapted to its cold and extreme conditions.

Climate

The Arctic's climate is characterized by cold winters and cool summers. Precipitation mostly comes in the form of snow. The Arctic's annual precipitation is low, with most of the area receiving less than 50 cm (20 inches). High winds often stir up snow, creating the illusion of continuous snowfall. Average winter temperatures can be as low as -40°C (-40°F), and the coldest recorded temperature is approximately -68°C (-90°F). Coastal Arctic climates are moderated by oceanic influences, having generally warmer temperatures and heavier snowfalls than the colder and drier interior areas.

Plants

Since trees cannot grow in the Arctic climate, the vegetation is composed of plants such as dwarf shrubs, graminoids, herbs, lichens and mosses, which all grow relatively close to the ground, forming tundra. As one moves northward, the amount of warmth available for plant growth decreases considerably. In the northernmost areas, plants are at their metabolic limits, and small differences in the total amount of summer warmth make large differences in the amount of energy available for maintenance, growth and reproduction. Colder summer temperatures cause the size, abundance, productivity and variety of plants to decrease. In the warmest parts of the Arctic, shrubs are common and can reach 2 m (6 ft) in height; sedges, mosses and lichens can form thick layers. In the coldest parts of the Arctic, much of the ground is bare; nonvascular plants such as lichens and mosses predominate, along with a few scattered grasses and forbs (like the Arctic poppy).

Animals

Herbivores on the tundra include the Arctic hare, lemming, muskox, and caribou. They are preyed on by the Arctic fox, wolves. The polar bear is also a predator, though it prefers to hunt for marine life from the ice. There are also many birds and marine species endemic to the colder regions.


  • Snow is a good insulator.
  • A long as you are shivering you will not lose a lot of body heat.
  • Spruce needles can be eaten to replace a little water and a lot of vitamin C.
  • Never panic, its not worth the trouble it will cause.
  • Never sleep in snow for fun or because it is more comfortable.
  • Do not let yourself sweat, remove layers.
  • Do not get wet or use wet cloths. You will ironically survive longer naked.
  • Birch bark will not burn if you have liquid inside it.
  • Warmth and Energy go hand in hand, preserve one and you will have the other.
  • Boil all the water you collect
  • When you stop shivering it means your body no longer has the energy to combat cold on its own.
  • Never build your fire directly under a needle bearing tree nor one that has snow in its branches.
  • Black feet are a bad sign and it means you did something wrong.
  • Never mistake cedar for spruce, spruce is a Christmas tree, cedar looks like plastic and is poisonous.
  • Avoid eating any mushrooms as most have poisonous counterparts that look the same.
  • Overcook all arctic animals as most have tricanosis.
  • Scurvy comes from a lack of vitamin C, replace it with spruce needles.






How to Make an Emergency Camp in the Snow

  1. Situational Awareness: You must first accurately recognize which scenario you fall into. These are as follows:
  2. Above zero, temperate:In this situation you are in an area primarily consisting of coniferous and deciduous trees. Water comes first as this environment is usually the easiest to camp in. It is often necessary to find an area with a large amount of pine. The reason for this is the fact that after years of constant shedding these trees leave their needles on the ground. If permafrost is not present you can often lift the snow and this sheet of hard needles (very carefully). This in turn reveals soft earth ideal for building a fire on. If this doesn't work simply push the snow off the ground and proceed to build a fire on top of these needles. With your new fire you are to boil white snow into drinking water. If you do not have a vessel to boil it in, birch bark is often the best way to do it as it will not burn if filled with packed snow.
  3. Camp craft: Many Boughs of pine and spruce often provide enough insulation to sleep comfortably with a fire. Place large sticks on a branch of a tree. The tree branch should be no higher than five feet. Any fire you make should be small so that you do not have to keep collecting wood through out the night. Also another small wall should be placed behind the fire in order to reflect the fires warmth back towards you.
  4. Zero, Adaptive climate:If at any time you begin to shiver add layers. If you begin to sweat remove layers from the inside out. At this level you need thicker layers but it is still important use a layering system. DO NOT GET WET as a rule you will die in zero temperatures if wet. If you do get wet immediately remove all of your clothing and dry yourself. If there is only snow you can use that to dry yourself as water attracts water until it melts. At this point warmth is the most important factor, preserve it.
  5. Camp craft: Build your camp behind an ideal fireplace. It should never be on a hill as the wind can easily sap both your fires strength and your own. Always build at least 30 feet away from your water source. Build as said above, except with far more insulation as the effort and the result will keep you far more warm.
  6. Below zero, Tundra:Your feet and hands are the most important things in this environment because they are the first to feel the weathers long term effects. Very thick padding that allows them to move is often the best way to protect them. With your feet there is never to much as your mobility is often complemented by a wider support base. In short your foot becomes your snow shoe. Also wind chill is incredibly powerful at sapping your strength. never let skin become exposed unless you are in an area without wind.
  7. Camp Craft: Often times in an area where the weather is always bellow zero snow tends to get upwards of 8 feet in depth. You can easily use this to your advantage. Believe it or not packed snow is one of the worlds best isolators. Simply dig a hole in the side of a snow bank and use your own body heat and improvised padding to keep you warm and dry. Never build a fire in a snow hole. If your shelter is build from snow this is important as it may collapse on your head in the middle of the night.