Arctic Ocean Foreign Ministers' Meeting
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with foreign ministers of the five Arctic Ocean coastal states—Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States—in Chelsea, Quebec on March 29. “By virtue of our sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in large parts of the Arctic Ocean, we are in a unique position to address new opportunities and challenges in the region,” said Minister Cannon. “We are committed to doing so within the extensive international legal framework that applies to the Arctic Ocean. Our citizens and northern inhabitants expect us to continue to show leadership on Arctic issues, and that is what we are doing. We are not reacting to change but shaping it.
House Bill Introduced to Block Arctic Drilling
Rep. U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman (Dem.-Calif.) introduced a bill Monday called the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015, which would prohibit new or renewed oil and gas leasing in the Arctic Ocean Planning Areas of the Outer Continental Shelf. The Senate version of the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015 was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (Dem.-Ore.) on July 16, 2015. Following closely on the heels of Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to end drilling operations in the Arctic Ocean “for the foreseeable future…
MOL to Launch Arctic Ocean LNG Route
Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (MOL) said on Wednesday that it will start transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) through the Arctic Ocean in 2018 using icebreaker LNG tankers. MOL, with its joint venture partner China Shipping, has ordered three icebreaker LNG carriers from South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd. The new tankers will deliver LNG to Europe and Asia from a gas plant to be built on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Russia by Russia's second-largest gas producer Novatek, France's Total and China National Petroleum Corporation.
More Chinese Ships to Use Arctic Route
China will send more ships flying its flag to take the Northwest Passage via the Arctic Ocean to cut travel times between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, says the state news agency Xinhua. The world's largest maritime carrier China COSCO Shipping Corporation will send more cargo vessels on Arctic voyages through the Northeast Passage. COSCO's freighter Yongsheng set out Saturday in northern port city of Tianjin for Britain. The ship will travel through the Arctic Ocean shipping route for the third time following voyages in 2015 and 2013…
Canada Embarks on Arctic Survey Mission
Canada has launched its 2016 Arctic expedition to collect important scientific information to support the nation’s submission on the extended continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. This year’s survey is a collaborative effort with Sweden, and Danish scientists will also participate in the research. The Canadian icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent left Dartmouth on July 22, 2016, for Tromsø, Norway, where it will take on board personnel from Natural Resources Canada’s Geological Survey of Canada…
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.
Arctic Whitening Might Help Ice But Not Climate
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 order to increase the reflection of the Sun's energy into space and restore sea ice in the area.
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, the Kaka Sea and the Barents Sea.
Sea Ice Plays Pivotal Role in Arctic Methane Cycle
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. Sea ice forms a natural barrier on the Central Arctic Ocean, limiting gas exchange between water and atmosphere.
Russia to Beef Up Arctic Military Infrastructure
The Russian Northern Fleet will deploy military infrastructure in most of the archipelagos and islands of the Arctic Ocean on the borders of Russia, according to official news agency Arctic-Info, citing the Northern Fleet command spokesman Andrey Korablev. "We plan to create a military infrastructure on virtually all of the archipelagos and islands of the Arctic Ocean in order to create a unified system of monitoring above-water and underwater environments," said Korablev at the "Provision of national interests of Russia in the Arctic" round table in St. Petersburg.
Royal Navy Data Provide Insights for Arctic Science
The researchers at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) have investigated the nature of turbulence in the ocean beneath the Arctic sea-ice using recently released Royal Navy submarine data reports Science Daily. This meeting of oceanography and military intelligence has seen declassified data from the 1990s analyzed to gain insights into how diminished ice cover affects turbulence in arctic waters. Recent decreases in Arctic sea ice may have a big impact on the circulation, chemistry and biology of the Arctic Ocean, due to ice-free waters becoming more turbulent.
Hundreds of Scientists Urge Obama to Halt Arctic Oil Drilling
Nearly 400 scientists from more than a dozen countries signed a letter urging U.S. President Barack Obama to take the Arctic Ocean out of the next federal offshore lease sale plan, thus ruling out the possibility of offshore drilling in the Arctic in the near future. Scientists from 13 countries have signed the letter saying global warming will be accelerated by burning oil found in the Arctic Ocean. “No new oil and gas leasing or exploration should be allowed in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the foreseeable future,” the scientists said.
Arctic Ocean Acidification May Corrode Animals' Shells
Arctic Ocean is facing a dilemma today and that is acidification. Ocean acidification is a result or a chemical reaction which happens when seawater absorbs too much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—reducing its acidity, carbon ion concentration and saturation. The Arctic marine species stand endangered amidst the alarming rise in ocean acidification. A new research by the NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory claims the disastrous effects of the drastically rising acidity levels of Arctic Ocean on the marine species.
Arctic on Thin Ice
Arctic sea ice - the ice that freezes and floats on Arctic waters - is thinning at a steadier and faster rate than researchers previously thought, a new study finds. Using modern and historic measurements, the researchers got an extensive view of how the thickness of Arctic sea ice has changed over the past few decades. According to measurements from multiple sources, the ice in the central Arctic Ocean thinned 65 percent between 1975 and 2012, from 11.7 feet (3.59 meters) to 4.1 feet (1.25 m).
Navy Submarines Begin Arctic Ocean Exercises
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, the camp's officer in tactical command and operations officer at Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic.
Is Oil Industry Backing Away From Offshore Arctic Drilling ?
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. Shell pulled out from drilling in the Arctic after completing just one unsuccessful exploration well. Then Obama administration cancels two scheduled Arctic Ocean lease sales for 2016 and 2017. To those who aren't oil industry insiders, it seems like the most sudden of turnabouts.
ONR Researchers Explore a Changing Arctic
As sea ice continues to recede at a record pace in the Arctic, officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) on April 14 announced new efforts to determine the pace of change in what some are calling Earth's final frontier. Scientists sponsored by ONR have traveled to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean, placing new sensors in the ice and in the frigid waters below, to better understand the processes contributing to a dramatic decline in sea ice thickness and extent-and provide new tools to help the U.S. Navy predict conditions and operate in once-inaccessible waters.
US Senator Introduces Bill to Stop Arctic Drilling
A piece of legislation aiming to stop offshore Arctic drilling was introduced last week by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. The legislation, entitled Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015, would prevent new or renewed leases for the exploration, development or production of oil, natural gas or any other mineral in the Arctic planning area. "A spill in the Arctic would be an environmental catastrophe of extraordinary proportions – and such a spill is inevitable if drilling proceeds," Merkley said.
Iceland Left out of Arctic Fishing Accord
Iceland was not involved in the creation of the new joint cooperation agreement on fishing in the Arctic Ocean, and insists it should be included. The five nations involved in the agreements since 2008 all have coastal boundaries with the Arctic Ocean, whereas other Arctic Council members Sweden, Finland and Iceland do not. The meeting at the ministry with the ambassadors of the USA, Denmark, Canada, Norway and Russia took place yesterday and allowed the Icelandic authorities to express their disappointment and displeasure at being left out.
Arctic Ocean Free of Ice in Summer Perhaps in a Few Years
Sea ice in the Arctic is disappearing at a far greater rate than previously expected according to latest dedicated satellite data. Preliminary results from the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 probe indicate that 900 cubic kilometres of summer sea ice has disappeared from the Arctic ocean over the past year. This rate of loss is 50% higher than most scenarios outlined by polar scientists and suggests that global warming, triggered by rising greenhouse gas emissions, is beginning to have a major impact on the region. In a few years the Arctic ocean could be free of ice in summer, triggering a rush to exploit its fish stocks, oil, minerals and sea routes.
Satellite to Monitor Arctic Shipping Lanes
The 10-kg cube-shaped satellite, jointly developed by Tokyo-based AXELSPACE Corp.and Weathernews, is scheduled to be launched from the Yasny Cosmodrome in Russia on Sept. 28. It will be the first attempt by a private company to use a satellite to monitor ice in the Arctic Ocean, reports the Japan Times. Weathernews plans to use the data to provide navigational information to commercial vessels plying the Arctic Ocean during the summer. The service will become available starting in summer 2013. Eleven vessels used the route in 2010 and 34 ships used it in 2011, spokesman Hitoki Ito told The Japan Times, adding the route does not remain navigable on a regular basis.
Arctic Drilling 'Not Worth the Risk' -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 final approval to resume drilling in the environmentally fragile ocean for the first time since 2012. (Reporting by Emily Stephenson and Amanda Becker)
Lt. Gov. Treadwell to Keynote Ice-Diminished Arctic Conference
Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell will give a keynote presentation tomorrow at the 5th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminished Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations. Treadwell will highlight the need to plan for safe maritime operations, national security, and the economic impacts of an open Arctic Ocean. Who: Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell What: Keynote at Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminished Arctic When: Tuesday, July 16, 9:30 am EST Where: Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC