Quantcast

7 Stunning Images Show the Northern Lights' Winter Magic

Adventure

With its Arctic climate and desolate, rocky landscape, icy Greenland isn't a typical travel destination. That is precisely what drew award-winning explorer and photographer Paul Zizka to camp out on an ice cap and capture one of Greenland's natural phenomena, the Aurora Borealis, aka Northern Lights.

Ilulissat gave us the traditional green welcome tonight. It's so good to be back in Greenland! ©Paul Zizka

Another crazy night in Greenland, as the aurora pours down onto the ice giants below.©Paul Zizka

According to NASA, "all auroras are caused by energetic particles—typically electrons—speeding down into Earth's atmosphere and colliding brilliantly with the atoms and molecules in the air." Although auroras can be spotted in an array of colors, pink and pale green lights are seen most often.

More than 80 percent of Greenland is covered by an ice cap that is almost two and a half miles thick, although it is melting 7 percent faster than previously thought. This remote nation is the world's largest island and the superb air quality may also enhance its auroras.

Heads up! A self-portrait from Greenland. ©Paul Zizka

The Aurora dances above a winter wonderland during a spectacular night in Yellowknife, Canada.©Paul Zizka

Zizka has said this job as a photographer requires a great deal of patience. "Shooting the Northern Lights almost always means waiting for your moment of magic," he explained.

As an adventurer, Zizka is drawn to "under-documented" locales. Between balmy French Polynesia and back to his hometown of Banff, Canada, landscape photography has brought him around the world. From Greenland to northern Minnesota to the "bitter cold of Northern Canada" to Iceland, Zizka has followed the trail of the Northern Lights across multiple countries, with more to come in the future. He has trips planned to Antarctica and the Faroe Islands.

Exploring the shores of Iceland as we try to take in the indescribable scene unfolding before our eyes! ©Paul Zizka

Looking back to one of my most memorable nights spent in the Canadian mountains. ©Paul Zizka

On his website, Zizka states, "I believe there is in all human beings a deep connection with the natural environment. In these times, however, that link is often obscured by the capitalistic, hectic, materialistic and anthropocentric nature of our societies. My hope is that through my photography people will rediscover the precious connection they can have with the wonders of our planet. "

To keep up with Zizka, you can read his blog or follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

A sky of magic dances above Jasper Lake in Canada during a recent Aurora show. ©Paul Zizka

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

The Carolina parakeet went extinct in 1918. James St. John / CC BY 2.0

The Carolina parakeet, the only parrot species native to the U.S., went extinct in 1918 when the last bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo. Now, a little more than 100 years later, researchers have determined that humans were entirely to blame.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
An elephant in Botswana. Mario Micklisch / CC BY 2.0

Two hunters who shot and killed a research elephant in Botswana and then destroyed its collar to hide the evidence have been banned from further hunting in the country.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brianna Elliott, RD

Vitamin C is a very important nutrient that's abundant in many fruits and vegetables.

Read More Show Less
BLM drill seeders work to restore native grasses after wildfire on the Bowden Hills Wilderness Study Area in southeast Oregon, Dec. 14, 2018. Marcus Johnson / BLM / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

In 2017 the Thomas fire raged through 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, California, leaving in its wake a blackened expanse of land, burned vegetation, and more than 1,000 destroyed buildings.

Read More Show Less