Can the world find a realistic way to deal with changing conditions at the ends of the Earth?
FRISCO — Climate scientists and policy makers from around the world last month agreed on an international action plan to help minimize the risks — and identify opportunities — associated with rapid changes in the Arctic and Antarctic environments.
The agreement came at a mid-July conference, when stakeholders from around the world finalized plans for the Polar Prediction Project, which aims to accelerate and consolidate research, observing, modelling, verification and educational activities.
Commercial shipping likely to bring unwanted visitors to region
FRISCO — The opening of transarctic shipping routes will increase the risk of invasive species spreading between the north Atlantic and Pacific oceans, scientists warned this week, calling on stakeholders to develop preventive strategies early in the game.
As Arctic sea ice melts away in a warming world, the two oceans will be directly connected for the first time in about 2 million years. Cargo ships often carry invasive species, biologists with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center wrote in a commentary published May 28 in Nature Climate Change. Continue reading “Environment: Invasive species concern rise in the Arctic”→
New study looks at Arctic sea ice projections and also explores geopolitical issues
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A new study helps quantify some of recent speculation about shipping routes through the Arctic, indicating that, in 40 years, normal seagoing vessels will be able to navigate previously inaccessible parts of the Arctic Ocean without the help of icebreakers.
Impacts to marine mammals a big concern with more traffic in Bering Strait
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Conservation experts and indigenous people in the far north urged caution as trans-Arctic shipping increases in the formerly ice-choked waters of the Arctic ocean.
The rapid increase in commercial ship traffic poses a significant risk to the region’s marine mammals and the local communities that rely on them for food security and cultural identity, according to Alaska Native groups and the Wildlife Conservation Society, who convened at a recent workshop.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Air temperatures aren’t the only thing heating up in the Arctic. With the potential for tapping new energy sources, tourism, shipping routes and other development, several countries are looking to gain political influence over future decisions in the region by seeking spots as permanent observers on the Arctic Council.
NOAA ship to chart waters in anticipation of increased growth in shipping and commerce in Arctic
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Loss of Arctic sea ice has advanced to the point that shipping companies are seriously looking for new routes that could speed commerce through the polar region. But navigational charts for the area are outdated, so the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has sent a survey ship to map the area.
“Commercial shippers aren’t the only ones needing assurances of safety in new trade routes,” said Captain John Lowell, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “The additional potential for passenger cruises, commercial fishing and other economic activities add to pressures for adequate response to navigational risks.” Continue reading “Global warming will spur commerce in Arctic”→