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.

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.

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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:

Dear APECS-community,

A very unique event is taking place in Berlin April 24-30, 2012: The Greenland Eyes International Film Festival. 

Greenland Eyes International Film Festival, taking place at renowned Arsenal Cinema April 24-30, 2012, offers a unique experience of one of the most fascinating places on earth. The festival is exceptional in its combination of multiple perspectives on today’s Greenland such as film, art, music, storytelling, politics and scholarship.

Greenland Eyes is proud to provide the Berlin audience with the first chance to get a comprehensive insight into films from and about Greenland. Starting with some examples from German-Greenlandic film history likeEskimo Baby (1917), starring Asta Nielsen, and SOS Iceberg (1932), starring Leni Riefenstahl, the festival focuses on the emerging Greenlandic film production and on international films showing today’s Greenland beyond widespread representations of a deserted ice-covered island, ‘eskimo exotism’ or sublime nature. Instead, the festival’s program will zoom in on urban Greenland; negotiations of the postcolonial situation; and reception of globalized pop culture in Greenland. Among others, the festival will screen (only for the second time in Germany) the first international Greenlandic feature film Nuummioq (2009), the international or German premieres of the first Greenlandic feature filmTikeq, Qiterleq, Mikileraq, Eqeqqoq, a low budget production from 2008; the most popular film in Greenland ever, Qaqqat Alanngui (2010); and the award winning short film ECHOES (2010) about the remains of the cold war in East Greenland.

The film program will be supplemented with the workshopGreenland Film in Context at Humboldt University’s Nordeuropa-Institut, focusing on theoretical and practical aspects of filmmaking in and about Greenland. We will be welcoming numerous guests, noteably from Greenland and Denmark, to share their expertise on traditional and recent representations of Greenland; current political and cultural debates; and the contemporary scene for visual arts in Greenland. Greenlandic singer-songwriter Nive Nielsen and actor and storyteller Makka Kleist will contribute additional features to an understanding of today’s Greenland. We are proud to announce our cooperation with .HBC, a beautiful music and culture venue at the center of Berlin, which will host the finissage party.

Welcome! Willkommen! Tikilluaritsi!

For more information, please click here

Researchers have updated HadCRUT - one of the main global temperate records, which dates back to 1850.

One of the main changes is the inclusion of more data from the Arctic region, which has experienced one of the greatest levels of warming.

The amendments do not change the long-term trend, but the data now lists 2010, rather than 1998, as the warmest year on record.

Read full arrticle

Three penguin species that share the Western Antarctic Peninsula for breeding grounds have been affected in different ways by the higher temperatures brought on by global warming, according to Stony Brook University Ecology and Evolution Assistant Professor Heather Lynch and colleagues. The work by Lynch and her team is contained in three papers that have been published online in Polar Biology,Ecology and Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS).

Lynch and her colleagues used a combination of field work and, increasingly, satellite imagery to track colonies of three penguin species -- Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo. The Adélie and chinstrap migrate to the peninsula to breed, while the gentoo are year-round residents.

Read full article


The Hubert Wenger Award

In 1996 the Polar Libraries Colloquy (PLC) passed a motion at its 16th meeting in Anchorage, Alaska establishing the Hubert Wenger award to commemorate Hubert's outstanding contribution to polar libraries. The award is funded though the proceeds of the Circumpolar Auction held at each Colloquy. Donations to the award are welcome.

The purpose of the award is to provide financial assistance to one or more delegates who might otherwise be unable to attend a PLC biennial meeting. The award covers the full cost of registration for the meeting. Funds are not available to cover any delegate's travel or accommodation costs. Delegates who have received two Wenger awards in the past are not eligible to apply for further funding.

To apply for an award, contact the PLC Secretary:

Laura Kissel
Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program
134 University Archives
2700 Kenny Road
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Applicants should provide the Secretary with:

  • their curriculum vitae
  • the title and abstract of their proposed presentation. The presentation should be a full paper rather than a poster.
  • a cover letter or email stating why their organization is interested in participating in the PLC meeting.

If an applicant is from an organization that has recently attended a PLC meeting, it is expected that the applicant or his/her organization will have paid the latest PLC membership dues.

Deadline for application is March 31 of the year of the Colloquy meeting. The next deadline is March 31, 2012.

Mining exploration and development happening widely across Canada's northern territories.

Full story

The Greenland ice sheet is likely to be more vulnerable to global warming than previously thought. The temperature threshold for melting the ice sheet completely is in the range of 0.8 to 3.2 degrees Celsius of global warming, with a best estimate of 1.6 degrees above pre-industrial levels, shows a new study by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Today, already 0.8 degrees of global warming has been observed. Substantial melting of land ice could contribute to long-term sea-level rise of several meters and therefore it potentially affects the lives of many millions of people.

The time it takes before most of the ice in Greenland is lost strongly depends on the level of warming. "The more we exceed the threshold, the faster it melts," says Alexander Robinson, lead-author of the study now published in Nature Climate Change. In a business-as-usual scenario of greenhouse-gas emissions, in the long run humanity might be aiming at 8 degrees Celsius of global warming. This would result in one fifth of the ice sheet melting within 500 years and a complete loss in 2000 years, according to the study. "This is not what one would call a rapid collapse," says Robinson. "However, compared to what has happened in our planet's history, it is fast. And we might already be approaching the critical threshold."

Read full article

PEARL forced to stop year-round monitoring of greenhouse gases, pollution

Canadians have donated about $10,000 to help keep a unique High Arctic research station from closing after its federal funding stops, says the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences.

Read Article
As the emergence of snow fleas signals the end of winter, scientists gather up their findings on wolves and moose and prepare to leave Isle Royale.

Read Full Article

Shell has been training a dachshund and two border collies to detect oil spills beneath snow and ice.

Read full article

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