Latitude: 77º 29’ 21”
Longitude: -69º 19’ 56”
Learn to pronounce Qaanaaq
Qaanaaq is known for its arts and crafts sold all over Greenland, for its spectacular nature with glaciers within walking distance, its modern facilities and its traditional way of life.
Some 600 people live in Qaanaaq which was just established in 1953 when the locals were forced to move from the area around what is now Thule Air Base – a United States military base. Hunting off the sea ice along with fishing is important to life in Qaanaaq, while especially dogsled tourism heading out to see seals, walrus, bird colonies and musk oxen is becoming increasingly popular recently.
Serviced by air, most tourist to Qaanaaq arrive by cruise ships. There is a small hotel in Qaanaaq renown for its warm hospitality, as well as several modern shops, a post office and a museum, which is housed in the polar explorer Knud Rasmussen’s former home. Seven of Rasmussen’s expeditions set out and here form Qaanaaq—just as Robert Peary started his quest from here to reach the North Pole in 1909!
Today the knowledge about sea ice and the local environment of the local hunters and Elders is instrumental in the study of climate change, as they report that the changes around Qaanaaq are very noticeable. For example, glaciers are receding significantly and the place names are no longer consistent with the appearance of the land—like the fact that Sermiarsussuaq ("the smaller large glacier"), which previously stretched out to the sea, no longer exists.
Panorama Pictures from Qaanaaq
Qaanaaq Climate Change Case Study with local hunter Uusaqqak Qujaukitsoq
Sources courtesy of: http://www2.fsg.ulaval.ca/giroq/now/gallery, /Jerry7.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qaanaaq, http://www.greenland-guide.gl/reg-qaanaaq.htm, and http://www.hotelqaanaaq.dk/