Polar News

News from a variety of sources dealing with polar related topics. Many thanks to APECS members for contributing to this shared resources! You can add these articles as a RSS feed in your favorite reader.

The June SEARCH Sea Ice Outlook reports are now available! The Pan-Arctic Summary, Full Pan-Arctic Outlook, and Regional Outlook are available at: http://www.arcus.org/search/seaiceoutlook/2012/june.

With 19 responses for the Pan-Arctic Outlook, the June Sea Ice Outlook projects a September 2012 arctic sea extent median value of 4.4 million square kilometers, with quartiles of 4.3 and 4.7 million square kilometers. This compares to observed September values of 4.6 in 2011, 4.9 in 2010, and 5.4 in 2009. Both the 2012 quartile values and the range (4.1 to 4.9) are quite narrow. The 2012 June Outlook differs from all previous Outlooks in that there are no projections of extent greater than 5.0. It is always important to note for context that all 2012 estimates are well below the 1979-2007 September mean of 6.7 million square kilometers.

Read more: 2012 Sea Ice Outlook: June Reports Available


The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is currently accepting abstract submissions for the 2012 Fall Meeting. The meeting will be held 3-7 December 2012 in San Francisco, California.

Abstracts must focus on scientific results or their application. Following the abstract deadline, submitted papers may be placed in a
different, more appropriate session than the one to which it was submitted. Final decisions regarding placement of individual papers and sessions rests with the Program Committee.

A flat fee of $60 ($30 for students) will be charged for each regular submission. This fee is non-refundable, and does not register the author for the meeting. Registration will for the meeting will open in mid-July.

Abstract submission deadline: Wednesday, 8 August 2012.

For further details on the abstract submission process, please go to: http://agu-fm12.abstractcentral.com/.

For additional information on the AGU Fall Meeting, please go to: http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2012/.

A head of cabbage for $20. Fifteen bucks for a small bag of apples.

A case of ginger ale: $82.

Fed up and frustrated by sky-high food prices and concerned over widespread hunger in their communities, thousands of Inuit have spent weeks posting pictures and price tags from their local grocery stores to a Facebook site called Feed My Family.

Read more

A new open-access book on "The Arctic Council: Its Place in the Future of Arctic Governance", edited by Thomas S. Axworthy, Timo Koivurova and Waliul Hasanat and published by the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation is now available. Several APECS members have contributed articles to this publication and presented them during the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program conference January 17-18, 2012 in Toronto.

The whole book or individual articles can be downloaded here


As the news that carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere in the Arctic are now over 400 parts per million, two new documentary films stress the local repercussions of continued burning of fossil fuels and deforestation around the globe.  The films focus on the native villages of Savoonga and Shaktoolik in Alaska and are now available through the Alaskans Sharing Indigenous Knowledge (AKSIK) project website (http://aksik.org).  The two films focus on the threats that climate change has on these villages.

The film entitled AKSIK “shares the native voices” that first-time filmmaker Jonathan Ignatowski “gleaned from the island” while working on the AKSIK project in Savoonga, located on St. Lawrence Island.   The film “details the culture and specific aspects of the culture, such as hunting practices that are impacted by the climate change.”  Ignatowski hopes the film serves “as a toolfor advocacy for subsistence cultures in the Arctic” and that “the film attracts an audience and starts a dialogue” about the implications of not acting on climate change.

Mera Kenney highlights the threats increasingly violent storms have on Shaktoolik, Alaska in her film entitled Silageetuq.  The film features two women, Carole Sookiayak and Tonia Sagoonick, from the village who describe the imminent threat these storms have on their survival.  The film also explores the needs of the village, mainly an evacuation road and evacuation center so the villagers can escape the next storm.  According to Kenney, “Without an evacuation road, the Inupiat community who call Shaktoolik home is at greatrisk of perishing during the next fall storm.”   “This short film was inspired,” she says, “by a walk along the Bering Sea coast with Carole Sookiayak.  On that walk I was deeply moved by the resilience and perseverance of their community despite the looming threat of bigger and more severe storms, and I felt an obligation to share the struggle of our fellow human beings.”  

 Taken together, the films are part of the larger AKSIK project, a multi-year science and advocacy project headed up by Jon Rosales, Ph.D. of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.  AKSIK documents localknowledge of climate change in Shaktoolik and Savoonga and their efforts toadapt to these changes.  The project also highlights the needs of the communities and communicates these needs via the project website at aksik.org.  Rosales hopes the project “brings attention to the needs of these communities who receive no media attention by showing a human face of climate change on the website and prods decision makers to act” on this crisis.  The two films capture this sentiment, and Kenney hopes “that if people with political power see their films, then perhaps a crisis will be averted before something tragic happens.”

Announcement of a Special Issue of the Journal of Hydrology New Zealand on: "Snow and Ice research"

Papers are invited for a special topic issue of the Journal of Hydrology New Zealand entitled "Snow and Ice research".

This special issue is open to submissions of papers related to snow and ice research, with a focus on the Australasia/Antarctic regions. Studies are welcomed on ice in any of its forms.

All submissions will be considered but some example topics are: snow and glacier hydrology; snow and ice resource assessments; relationships of snow and ice to climate (past, present and future); snow and ice processes; glacier mass balance; snow and ice monitoring/measuring techniques; snow and ice modelling efforts.

For consideration of inclusion in the special issue please email a title, author list and an indicative abstract to Tim Kerr (Tim.Kerr at NIWA.co.nz) by 21st August 2012.

Submitted papers should follow the guidelines set out on http://www.hydrologynz.org.nz/journal.php except that only electronic submissions will be accepted, and they should be sent to Tim.Kerr at

The submission deadline is 1st February 2013.

The intention is to have the issue completed in the second half of 2013.

Non members of the NZ Hydrological Society will have an opportunity to purchase a copy of the special issue.

All articles will be typeset at no cost to the author.

Tim Kerr (Tim.Kerr at NIWA.co.nz) will coordinate the editing of the
special issue. Please direct all enquiries regarding this special issue
to him.

This special issue is an initiative of the NZ Snow and Ice Research Group (http://www.sirg.org.nz), in collaboration with the NZ Hydrological Society (http://www.hydrologynz.org.nz).


Title/author/abstract submission: 21st August 2012

Paper submission : 1st February 2013

NOAA: Carbon dioxide levels reach milestone at Arctic sites

NOAA cooperative measurements in remote, northern sites hit greenhouse gas milestone in April

May 31, 2012

Contact: Katy Human, 303-497-4747 

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Barrow, Alaska, reached 400 parts per million (ppm) this spring, according to NOAA measurements, the first time a monthly average measurement for the greenhouse gas attained the 400 ppm mark in a remote location.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), emitted by fossil fuel combustion and other human activities, is the most significant greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

“The northern sites in our monitoring network tell us what is coming soon to the globe as a whole,” said Pieter Tans, an atmospheric scientist with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) in Boulder, Colo. “We will likely see global average CO2 concentrations reach 400 ppm about 2016.”


The purpose of this questionnaire is to solicit input to inform the development of the science and technology (and supporting) infrastructure at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) that will be built in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. The information compiled from this exercise will inform the design of the infrastructure of the Station. Individual responses will remain confidential and only collated information will be distributed.

CHARS will provide a year-round, world-class hub for science and technology activities in Canada's North, complementing and anchoring the existing network of smaller regional facilities. The science and technology undertaken by CHARS will be interdisciplinary and will include natural and physical sciences, economic and social sciences, health and life sciences, the humanities as well as engineering and technology development. It will integrate across scientific processes and across scales. Activities may include monitoring and surveillance; research, modelling and prediction; technology development and transfer; knowledge application; training, education and outreach as well as provision of logistics services.

The Station will engage CHARS staff as well as Northerners, industry personnel, academics and government and international researchers in its science and technology activities.

To fill out a questionnaire please go to the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/charsinfrastructurequestionnaire

For further information on CHARS please visit: www.science.gc.ca/CHARS

The questionnaire will remain open until June 7, 2012.

For questions on CHARS or the questionnaire contact Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's Arctic Science Policy Directorate at CHARS-SRCEA@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

The Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) of the U.S. Ice Drilling Program announces a request for community input and comments on the Long Range Science Plan. The deadline for contributions is Friday, 8 June 2012.

The draft 2012 Long Range Science Plan has been updated to reflect the outcomes from the 2012 Science Advisory Board (SAB) meeting. The document is meant to be the forward planning path for the Ice Drilling Program sciences. The IDPO requests that members of the ice coring and drilling community take the time to review the working draft and send input via email (icedrill@dartmouth.edu). IDPO will coordinate review of the input by the SAB for incorporation into the final document.

Submission deadline: Friday, 8 June 2012.

To download the working draft, please visit: http://icedrill.org/scientists/scientists.shtml#scienceplan.

reposted from fish2fork

by Lewis Smith

A huge swathe of the waters off Antarctica must be protected from fishing and other industries, a report urges.

More than 40 per cent of the region needs to be given protection before, as one of the world’s last true frontier regions, it is damaged irreparably by human activity, the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) believes.

The group has identified 19 “key Antarctic marine habitats” that it believes must be protected as part of the largest network of marine protected areas ever created, and is urging the UK government to throw its weight behind the proposals.

read the full article here: 


The report by the Antarctic Ocean Legacy "A Vision for Circumpolar Protection" is now available to download here: http://www.greenpeace.de/fileadmin/gpd/user_upload/themen/meere/AOA_Report.pdf

In October 2011, the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA) proposed the creation of a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) and no-take marine reserves in 19 specific areas in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. 

This report, Antarctic Ocean Legacy: A Vision for Circumpolar Protection, now provides the AOA’s full vision for this network with particular reference to the ecological values of the chosen areas.

Environmental scientists at Harvard have discovered that the Arctic accumulation of mercury, a toxic element, is caused by both atmospheric forces and the flow of circumpolar rivers that carry the element north into the Arctic Ocean. While the atmospheric source was previously recognized, it now appears that twice as much mercury actually comes from the rivers.

Read More

Ottawa has placed 905,000 hectares of the northern offshore up for bids, clearing the way for energy companies to snap up exploration rights for an area half the size of Lake Ontario. The scale of the offer indicates eagerness in the oil patch to drill for new finds in Canada’s northern waters less than two years after such plans were put on hold following the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico and a major Arctic drilling safety review.

Read the whole article here.

High school program will teach students about legacy and history of infamous schools

The governments of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have joined forces to create a mandatory curriculum for high school students to learn the legacy and history of residential schools.


(GEO-8134 Texture Analysis and Orientation Imaging)

Tromsø University

Monday - Friday
October, 15 - 19, 2012

The aim of the workshop is to familiarize participants with different methods of texture analysis and to discuss texture interpretations. This year the special emphasis is on the texture development in ice. The workshop presents an introduction to computer-integrated polarization microscopy (CIP), a method for the derivation of caxis polefigures, orientation, misorientation and orientation gradient images of uniaxial minerals such as quartz and ice. Other methods of texture analysis, EBSD and mtex, are presented in lectures and open discussions.Topics are: local (partial) and global (bulk) textures, type and strength of pole figures, interpretation of misorientations, texture-based segmentation, grain size and grain shape analysis. Practical application and analyses of natural and experimental samples will be demonstrated.

Renée Heilbronner, Basel University & University of Tromsø
Martyn Drury, Utrecht University
Gill Pennock, Utrecht University
Ilka Weikusat, The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Bremerhaven
Holger Stünitz, University of Tromsø
Rüdiger Kilian, Basel University

The workshop is open to all PhD level and postgraduate students and researchers. The maximum number of participants is limited by the number of available workstations (16).

Deadlines range from August 24 to October 12. Find out more at http://pages.unibas.ch/earth/micro/query.html?workshops/TEXcourse2012/index.html. For more information, email renee.heilbronner@unibas.ch.

There will be a fee of 30 EUR for hand-outs and course materials


The National Science Foundation (NSF) was recently informed by Murmansk Shipping Company that the diesel icebreaker Vladimir lgnatyuk will not be available to support the U.S. Antarctic Program during the 2012-2013 and future Antarctic research seasons.

Additional information is available in a Dear Colleague letter from Scott Borg, Director of the Division of Antarctic Sciences, and Brian Stone, Director of the Division of Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics. The letter can be downloaded at:


For almost a decade, the Telegraph has been a leading source of information on critical Arctic issues, including: transportation and infrastructure; resource management; security; safety; sovereignty; energy; policy and governance; and citizen engagement. The Telegraph has a readership that includes governance leaders and policymakers, researchers and analysts and business professionals from 28 countries.   Each Wednesday the Telegraph provides:

  • A compilation of essential Arctic centered news and issues;
  • Decoding the Arctic: Leader Insights editorials focusing on Arctic topics; and
  • An opportunity for emerging Arctic professionals and leaders, ages 18 to 40, to voice opinions regarding Arctic issues in the editorial column titled Northern Lights: Voices from Emerging Leaders.

To view this week's issue of the Top of the World Telegraph please - Click Here

To learn more about the Institute of the North please Click Here

The Spring 2012 issue of the Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO) newsletter Ice Bits is available online. Ice Bits, an update of IDPO and Ice Drilling Design and Operations activities, is published quarterly in electronic format and can be accessed as a PDF file, at: http://icedrill.org/news/icebits.shtml.

Selected items in this issue include:

       - 2011-2012 Antarctic Field Season Successfully Completed
       - DISC Drill Replicate Coring Test
       - Badger-Eclipse Drill Utilized for Driller Training
       - New Hand Auger Prototype Tested
       - Rapid Access Drill Feasibility
       - Science Advisory Board Working Groups
       - Educational Outreach
       - Drilling Support to Science Projects
       - U.S. Ice Drilling Program Media Guide
       - Requesting Ice Drilling Support

To download the newsletter, please go to: http://www.icedrill.org/news/icebits.shtml.

Visit the web at: http://www.icedrill.org/.

A World Glacier Inventory (WGI) is available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The dataset can be accessed at: http://nsidc.org/data/docs/noaa/g01130_glacier_inventory/.

Since 1999, NOAA at NSIDC has worked with the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) to make its WGI available online. While the WGI cannot claim to have all of the world's glaciers, it now has records for over 130,000. The NOAA at NSIDC team worked with an intern from the WGMS to check and update the documentation of existing records, and add over 25,000 new ones.

The WGI is a reference resource for the world's glaciologists and one of NSIDC's most popular datasets. The 50 fields included with each record contain parameters such as orientation, ablation area, and accumulation area, which glaciologists use to assess the condition of the glacier at the time of the inventory record, and to compare with later assessments.  The WGI is an essential part of the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G), in turn part of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) under
the auspices of World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

To access the dataset, please go to: http://nsidc.org/data/docs/noaa/g01130_glacier_inventory/.


Introduction to user requirement survey

In order to develop the Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) for sea ice, it is necessary to perform a user requirement survey and analyse the requirements to be extracted from the survey. The main sea ice variables contributing to the ECVs are ice concentration (SIC) and ice thickness (SIT), both of which have been observed from space for several years.

The requirement analysis will address coverage, resolution, bias, precision and stability of the SIC and SIT measurements, as well as product formats, grid and projection. Also requirements for other sea ice variables relevant for climate research will be addressed.

The requirements will be defined for a number of applications in particular climate modelling including model development, model validation, model initialisation, data assimilation, and other climate research activities such as time series analysis. The requirements will be analyzed in terms of how important they are for the different applications. The requirements are divided in two categories: minimum requirement  ("MUST HAVE"), and target requirements ("NICE TO HAVE").

One specific issue is to assess the requirements for error estimation of the data sets to be provided in the project. Three parameters are defined (see figure below):

(1) Bias: offset of the mean satellite observations from the “true” values,

(2) Precision: scatter of multiple measurements of a constant target, and

(3) Stability: drift in observed mean value of a constant target over a decade.

To access the survey, please go to:

For further information, please go to:

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