Qaanaaq

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Qaanaaq
Thule
Qaanaaq
Qaanaaq
Greenland map.svg
Coordinates: 77°28′00″N 69°13′50″W / 77.46667°N 69.23056°W / 77.46667; -69.23056Coordinates: 77°28′00″N 69°13′50″W / 77.46667°N 69.23056°W / 77.46667; -69.23056
State  Kingdom of Denmark
Constituent country  Greenland
Municipality Qaasuitsup-coat-of-arms.svg Qaasuitsup
First settled 2000 BCE
Population (2013)
 • Total 656[1]
Time zone UTC-03[2]
Postal code 3971

Qaanaaq (IPA: [qɑːnɑːq]), formerly Thule or New Thule, is the main town in the northern part of the Qaasuitsup municipality in northwestern Greenland. It is one of the northernmost towns in the world. The inhabitants of Qaanaaq speak Kalaallisut and Danish and many also speak the Inuktun language. The town has a population of 656 as of 2013.[1] The tallest construction in Greenland, the 378-meter Globecom Tower (Radio Mast Thule), was located near the town.[3][4]

History[edit]

In Qaanaaq Inuit man demonstrates traditional kayaking technique used for hunting narwhals

The Qaanaaq area in northern Greenland was first settled 2000 BC by the Paleo-Eskimo migrating from the Canadian Arctic.[5]

The town of Qaanaaq was established in the winter of 1953 when the United States expanded their airbase at Thule and forcibly relocated the population of Pituffik, Dundas, and Uummannaq 31 km (19 mi) to the north within four days during the height of the Cold War. The settlement was subsequently moved another 100 kilometers to the north.

Culture[edit]

Ways of living so far north and in such severe climatic conditions are passed on from generation to generation, and this ability to adapt has contributed to the survival of this small community. When the sea becomes open sometime around August, large dinghies with powerful engines are used for both hunting trips and ordinary journeys. It is still light twenty-four hours a day at this time - the Midnight Sun lasts from the middle of April to the end of August. Nothing from the hunt goes to waste: the skins are used for clothing and covering the kayaks; the flesh and offal are eaten by humans and domestic animals; the narwhal and walrus tusks are carved into finely-worked figures, jewellery and hunting implements, and even feathers can be used in handicrafts.[citation needed]

Transport[edit]

Main article: Qaanaaq Airport

Air Greenland operates fixed-wing aircraft services between Qaanaaq Airport and Upernavik Airport, with further connections to Ilulissat Airport and Qaarsut Airport. Settlement flights operate to Siorapaluk, sporadically to Moriusaq, and to Savissivik via Thule Air Base.[6]

There are a few unpaved dirt roads in Qaanaaq. Only one road leaves town - it connects to Qaanaaq Airport. Pickup trucks and SUVs are found in Qaanaaq, but skis, dogsleds and walking are better alternatives to getting around.[7]

Medical and Emergency Services[edit]

There is a small hospital (built in the 1950s and rebuilt 1996) in Qaanaaq with basic health care offered. More advanced care requires transfer to other medical centers in Greenland by air.[8]

A small local fire brigade is assisted by firefighters at the Thule Air Base.

Government[edit]

Local government consists of a seven member council elected every four years and meets four to six times a year. The town is part of the region of Qaasuitsup, which is represented by a council and mayor.

Population[edit]

With 656 inhabitants as of 2013, Qaanaaq is the largest settlement in the far north of the country.[1] Its population has been relatively stable with only minor fluctuations since the mid-1990s.[9]

Qaanaaq population dynamics
Qaanaaq population growth dynamics, 1991-2010. Source: Statistics Greenland[9]

Climate[edit]

Qaanaaq has a polar climate (Köppen "Polar tundra"), and hence it has long, cold winters. Peak temperatures occur in July and seldom exceed 10°C.

Climate data for Qaanaaq
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 5
(41)
1
(34)
2
(36)
6
(43)
12
(54)
20
(68)
19
(66)
17
(63)
10
(50)
5
(41)
3
(37)
3
(37)
20
(68)
Average high °C (°F) −19.0
(−2.2)
−20.6
(−5.1)
−20.1
(−4.2)
−12.8
(9)
−2.6
(27.3)
4.2
(39.6)
7.4
(45.3)
6.2
(43.2)
0.6
(33.1)
−6.7
(19.9)
−12.9
(8.8)
−17.8
(0)
−7.8
(18)
Daily mean °C (°F) −23.3
(−9.9)
−24.6
(−12.3)
−24.1
(−11.4)
−17.0
(1.4)
−5.6
(21.9)
1.5
(34.7)
4.6
(40.3)
3.8
(38.8)
−1.7
(28.9)
−9.8
(14.4)
−16.6
(2.1)
−21.6
(−6.9)
−11.2
(11.8)
Average low °C (°F) −27.0
(−16.6)
−28.4
(−19.1)
−27.8
(−18)
−21.0
(−5.8)
−8.6
(16.5)
−0.7
(30.7)
2.1
(35.8)
1.6
(34.9)
−4.0
(24.8)
−12.8
(9)
−20.1
(−4.2)
−25.0
(−13)
−14.3
(6.3)
Record low °C (°F) −40
(−40)
−58
(−72)
−41
(−42)
−34
(−29)
−22
(−8)
−7
(19)
−3
(27)
−6
(21)
−17
(1)
−31
(−24)
−33
(−27)
−46
(−51)
−58
(−72)
Precipitation mm (inches) 6
(0.24)
6
(0.24)
4
(0.16)
6
(0.24)
7
(0.28)
7
(0.28)
16
(0.63)
24
(0.94)
18
(0.71)
12
(0.47)
10
(0.39)
8
(0.31)
124
(4.88)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 2 2 1 2 2 2 4 4 4 3 3 2 31
 % humidity 64 63 63 62 63 69 71 72 69 69 66 67 67
Mean monthly sunshine hours 0 8 150 251 316 273 271 175 155 49 0 0 1,648
Source #1: NOAA[10][11]
Source #2: BBC Weather[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Greenland in Figures 2013. Statistics Greenland. ISBN 978-87-986787-7-9. ISSN 1602-5709. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  2. ^ http://www.airgreenland.com/
  3. ^ Thule Radio Mast
  4. ^ Snippet from "Thule Times" – Thuleforum
  5. ^ Fortescue, Michael. Language Relations Across Bering Strait: Reappraising the Archaeological and Linguistic Evidence. Open Linguistic Press, Cassell, 1998. ISBN 0-304-70330-3
  6. ^ "Booking system". Air Greenland. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Practical info - The Official Tourism Site of Greenland
  8. ^ Qaanaaq, Greenland
  9. ^ a b Statistics Greenland, Population in localities
  10. ^ "Thule Air Base Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Thule Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  12. ^ [1]. Retrieved 23 December 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Murray, Louise. 2006. "On Thin Ice – Louise Murray Travels to Qaanaaq in Northern Greenland to See the Effect That Climate Change Is Having on Subsistence Hunters and Their Prey". Geographical : the Royal Geographical Society Magazine. 32.
  • Remie, C. H. W. Facing the Future Inughuit Youth of Qaanaaq : Report of the 1998 University of Nijmegen Student Expedition to Qaanaaq, Thule District, Northern Greenland. Nijmegen: Nijmegen University Press, 1999. ISBN 90-5710-078-9

External links[edit]