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Arctic Ocean

Two Seattle-based Coast Guard Divers die in Arctic Ocean

Accoring to reports, two Seattle-based Coast Guard divers died Thursday while diving in the Arctic Ocean, about 500 miles north of Barrow, Alaska. Lt. Jessica Hill, 30, of St. Augustine, Fla., and Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Duque, 26, of Miami, were assigned to the Cutter Healy. The ship was on a scientific mission when the deaths occurred, according to the Coast Guard. Hill and Duque were on a practice dive familiarizing themselves with the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean, the Coast Guard said. The cause of this dive accident is under investigation. The 420-foot Healy is one of three polar ice breakers operated by the Coast Guard. Healy is primarily used for Arctic science operations under sponsorship of the U.S. National Science Foundation. Source: Seattle Times

Chinese Icebreaker Transits Northern Sea Route


The icebreaker 'Xuelong' made the Arctic Ocean passage from China through to Norwegian waters. The Chinese icebreaker completed the Arctic North-East Passage marking the first such voyage by a Chinese vessel and opening an Arctic route connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic for future Chinese science expeditions. In completing the voyage, the icebreaker Xuelong or Snow Dragon channeled through five marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean: the Chukchi Sea, the East Siberian Sea, the Laptev Sea

Samsung Wins Tanker Contract

According to a Korea Herald report, Samsung Heavy Industries Co. won a $422.5 million deal to build three arctic tankers for Russian state-owned shipper Sovcomflot. Samsung is the first Korean shipbuilder to receive an order for ice-breaking oil-carriers. Sovcomflot plans to operate the artic tankers over the Barents Sea between the Varandiy oil well in the Arctic Ocean and Murmansk harbor in Russia, according to the report

Navy Submarines Begin Arctic Ocean Exercises

Arctic-bound USS New Mexico: USN official photo

Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) and Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) have commenced Ice Exercise 2014 (ICEX 2014) in the Arctic Ocean, says Commander,  US Submarine Forces. "In keeping with the Department of Defense's Arctic Objectives, the Submarine Force uses Ice Exercises to prepare for a wide range of challenges and contingencies," said Capt. Paul Whitescarver

Arctic Whitening Might Help Ice But Not Climate

Image by Carnegie Institution for Science

 The attempt to artificially whiten the surface of the Arctic Ocean and offset climate change will not be able to reduce global temperatures substantially. It could in principle help restore some amount of sea ice, says a research based on model configurations.   It has been proposed that disastrous climate effects could be offset by technological approaches, broadly called geoengineering. One geoengineering proposal is to artificially whiten the surface of the Arctic Ocean in

Sea Ice Plays Pivotal Role in Arctic Methane Cycle

Sea ice forms a natural barrier on the Central Arctic Ocean, limiting gas exchange between water and atmosphere Courtesy AWI

  The ice-covered Arctic Ocean is a more important factor concerning the concentration of the greenhouse gas methane in the atmosphere than previously assumed. Experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) report on the newly discovered interactions between the atmosphere, sea ice and the ocean in a recent online study in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports.

U.S., Canadian Coast Guard Oil Spill Exercise

Representatives from the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards, Arctic region stakeholders and established responders are scheduled to hold a joint “Canada - United States North” (CANUSNORTH) tabletop exercise March 16 and 17 at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage. This biennial exercise provides an opportunity for all responders to work together to consult on local issues and improve communications and coordination for potential responses to pollution incidents in the contiguous

Russia, US Agree on Arctic Fishing Ban

Photo: NOAA

Five nations set moratorium on fishing near North Pole; no fish there now, but thaw is drawing stocks north. The United States, Russia and other Arctic nations signed an agreement deal on Thursday to bar their fishing fleets from fast-thawing seas around the North Pole, an agreement delayed more than a year by tensions over Ukraine. The accord, also signed in Oslo by the ambassadors of Canada, Norway and Denmark, is a response to global warming

Russia Submits Vast Arctic Territory Claims to UN

Map by  National Snow and Ice Data Center

 Russia has submitted its bid for vast territories in the Arctic to the United Nations, AP reported as the Foreign Ministry saying.   The ministry said in a statement that Russia is claiming 1.2 million square kilometres (over 463,000 square miles) of Artic sea shelf extending more than 350 nautical miles (about 650 kilometres) from the shore.   It said the bid contains new arguments. “Ample scientific data collected in years of Arctic research are used to back the

China Mulls Routine Arctic Transits

Image: China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company

 China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO) plans to launch regular services through the Arctic Ocean to Europe, as global warming makes the route viable and Beijing steps up its northern ambitions, says a report in AFP.   Cosco’s Yong Sheng vessel completed its second round trip Arctic voyage between China and Europe in October. It sailed nearly 20,000 nautical miles during the 55-day voyage.  

Plastic Litter Sea Surface, Even in Arctic

Observations of floating anthropogenic litter in the Barents Sea and Fram Strait, Arctic.

  In a new study, researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) show for the first time that marine litter can even be found at the sea surface of Arctic waters. Though it remains unclear how the litter made it so far north

Is Oil Industry Backing Away From Offshore Arctic Drilling ?

Prirazlomnaya platform. Photo: Information Directorate, Gazprom

 The principal difficulty for Arctic offshore drilling right now, according to oil industry think tank, is economic.  The companies may be back for another try at Arctic offshore drilling, in U.S. waters or elsewhere, if economic conditions change, reports AP.  

North Pole: The Latest Tourist Trap

Dennis Bryant

On August 16, 2015, the geographic North Pole was visited by a Russian surface ship for the one-hundredth time. The Russian nuclear icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy (50 Years of Victory) carried 106 tourists from 16 different countries. This was the icebreaker’s seventh cruise to the Pole just this

Warm Water Mixing up Life in Arctic

Most surprising finding is that the thermally induced changes at the ocean surface can rapidly spread to affect life in the deep seas Courtesy Alfred Wegener institute

  AWI researchers’ unique 15-year observation series reveals how sensitive marine ecosystems in polar regions are to change The warming of arctic waters in the wake of climate change is likely to produce radical changes in the marine habitats of the High North

Can't Touch This: The Climate Case Against Arctic Drilling

Photo: White House

 A new report released today by Oil Change International and Greenpeace USA details a clear case against drilling for oil in the Arctic ocean based on climate science imperatives.    The report, “Untouchable: The Climate Case Against Arctic Drilling,” shows U.S

Programmed Multikopter Flies Autonomously Through Arctic

Alfred Wegener Institute programmed a Multikopter

  How do you get an aircraft in the far reaches of the Arctic Ocean to the goal, if the compass does not provide reliable location data? Engineers aboard the research icebreaker Polarstern of the Alfred Wegener Institute programmed a Multikopter so that he can navigate near the North Pole

Arctic Drilling 'Not Worth the Risk' -Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in a Twitter post on Tuesday that drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean was "not worth the risk." "The Arctic is a unique treasure," Clinton said. The Obama administration on Monday gave Royal Dutch Shell

Is Russia Militarizing The Arctic ?

Image: Russian Military

 US Army's Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) said in its August 2015 report that Moscow is  building up its military presence and moving highly advanced and specially modified air defense systems in the resource-rich Arctic region.   

Obama Defends Arctic Oil Drilling

Image: Shell Global

 United States' President Barack Obama defends his decision to allow Royal Dutch Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean.   He insisted that there was no contradiction between his climate change agenda and Arctic drilling.  

Five Chinese Ships in Bering Sea as Obama Visits Alaska

Five Chinese Navy ships are sailing in international waters in the Bering Sea off Alaska, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, in an apparent first for China's military that came as U.S. President Barack Obama toured the U.S. state.   Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said it was the first

US Coast Guard Cutter Reaches the North Pole

The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and the Geotraces science team have their portrait taken at the North Pole Sept. 7, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cory J. Mendenhall)

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy arrived at the North Pole September 5, 2015, becoming the first U.S. surface ship to do so unaccompanied.   Healy’s arrival to the North Pole marks the fourth time a U.S. surface vessel has ever reached the North Pole, and the first since 2005. 

Canada Arctic Drilling Rules May Stifle Development

Canada's offshore Arctic drilling rules could "stifle" development since they do not provide incentives for companies to proceed with production after discovering oil, the government was told in a newly-released internal briefing note.  

Danish Meet Looks at Arctic Shipping Issues

Picture: Danish Maritime Days

 One of the most significant global issues over the past 10 years is the vast changes in the Arctic region.    The world has again turned its attention to the Arctic, this time mainly because of the climate effects in the Arctic, the economic potential of the region

House Bill Introduced to Block Arctic Drilling

Jared Huffman (Official photo)

Rep. Huffman introduces Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act; bill would prohibit oil and gas leasing in the Arctic Ocean   U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman (Dem.-Calif.) introduced a bill Monday called the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015

Billions of Juvenile Fish under Arctic Ice

Using a new net, marine biologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute have, for the first time, been able to catch polar cod directly beneath the Arctic sea ice with a trawl

  Using a new net, marine biologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute have, for the first time, been able to catch polar cod directly beneath the Arctic sea ice with a trawl, allowing them to determine their large-scale distribution and origin

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