Navy Discusses Arctic Changes

Monday, July 13, 2009

The oceanographer of the Navy and commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC) recently discussed the Navy's future in the Arctic at the third Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Rear Adm. David Titley spoke about the Arctic and is scheduled to deliver a "roadmap" for Navy action regarding the Arctic late this summer.

Titley's task came out of a Chief of Naval Operations Executive Board (CEB) meeting on the Navy's response to the changing environment and a new national Arctic policy.

"My first deliverable, a Navy Arctic roadmap, is a way to get a handle on the Arctic and climate change in general," Titley said.

In 2007, the summer sea ice minimum in the Arctic reached a record low. The summer ice cap was estimated to be half the size of what it was 50 years ago, although there will always be 100 percent ice cap cover in the winter months. Based on trends of the last 50 years, experts predict within the next 40 years the Arctic will be ice-diminished for about four weeks at the end of the summer. During ice-diminished periods, ships may be able to transit across the Arctic region, which has never been possible in history.

An ice-free or ice-diminished Arctic, even if only for part of the year, will have huge implications for the Navy, Titley said.

"The bottom line is that no new naval missions are specified, but clearly there will be an increased scope of naval operations in the Arctic. Ensuring access and stabilizing the global commons are the main reasons for increased presence in the Arctic," Titley said.

Operating in the extreme conditions of the Arctic, even an ice-free Arctic, presents a number of challenges to the Navy – whether the ships and other platforms can operate there, whether the Navy needs a nearby base of operations for logistic support and how to predict weather, ocean and ice conditions.

"I think it's important that we remember that it is a tough environment in which to operate," Titley said. "Despite the warming trend, extreme freezing air and water temperatures will continue."

Additionally, geologists estimate that the Arctic holds up to one-fourth of the Earth's oil and gas reserves and other mineral resources, so there are territorial aspirations by some of the Arctic nations.

Titley said a lot of uncertainty remains.

The Arctic environment, he said, is complex and difficult to model, with few observations and characterized by high variability. Current models cannot accurately predict ice conditions 30 years into the future.

"There is considerable uncertainty in future model projections. The more important message from models is that all but a few outliers predict enormous sea ice retreat this century," he said.

The road map he is developing will describe current and anticipated conditions to allow naval policy-makers, planners, commanders, operators, and designers of platforms and equipment to accommodate and incorporate those new operational parameters.

"The Navy understands the recent changes [in the Arctic]," Titley said. "It wants to understand them better so it can prepare and invest accordingly."

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Navy

Today in U.S. Naval History: July 29

Today in U.S. Naval History - July 29 1846 - Sailors and Marines from U.S. sloop Cyane capture San Diego, Calif. 1918 - Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D.

S.Korea Ferry Boss's Driver Turns Self In

The driver of a South Korean businessman wanted over the sinking of a ferry that killed 304 people turned himself in on Tuesday, potentially unlocking the mystery

USNS Ship Rescues Nine in Gulf of Oman

'USNS Richard E. Byrd' (T-AKE 4), a Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship, rescued 9 crew members from a Yemeni-flagged cargo vessel 'Asaed' that had lost power,

Environmental

Control of Emission from Vessels in Hong Kong Waters

Amendments to the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance (Cap. 313) and the Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) Ordinance (Cap. 548) to enhance the control of dark

Desulfurization of Exhaust Gases in Shipping

Are shipowners prepared to enter SECA zones?   Due to existing regulations on air exhaust emissions from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and with

Valemon Topsides Installed

On Monday, July 28, the topsides were lifted into place on the steel jacket on the Valemon field in the North Sea. Produced by Samsung Heavy Industries this is

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Salvage Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1128 sec (9 req/sec)