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.

Conditions in the Arctic are slipping rapidly from bad to worse as the pace of climate change accelerates in that region. That’s the message from an annual environmental assessment of the far North, released on Wednesday.

Read the Nature article.

No Roads Expeditions is organizing a sailing adventure on a 20 m yacht "The Blizzard" from Hobart to Cape Denison via Macquarie island in February 2014. The team of expedition is happy to help researchers and young scientists to get samples from the points of their route. For further information please contact Peter Miller at <peter@noroads.com.au> or visit the website http://www.noroads.com.au.

Conducting research in the Arctic has never been easy, but Canadian scientists continue to work in the North with support from the South — accruing benefits for all

By and
Click to enlarge
At PEARL’s Ridge Lab in Eureka, Nunavut, scientists study stratospheric ozone. (Photo: Paul Loewen/CANDAC)

November is typically the snowiest and windiest month in Churchill, Man., but that doesn’t mean life slows down in the small town on the western shore of Hudson Bay. The sun still shines for about seven hours each day in November, and the polar bear population near the community is at its annual peak. And every day in Churchill and at research stations scattered across Canada’s northern territories, scientists bundle up in GORE-TEX and goose down and trudge across permafrost, snow and ice to study the region. Using many fields of inquiry and deepening their knowledge by exchanging information with aboriginal peoples, scientists analyze the impacts of a changing climate in the Arctic. And they couldn’t do this work without the support network that keeps the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC) and other research stations running.

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Nestled in a steep fjord beneath three kilometres of Antarctic ice, the lost world of Lake Ellsworth has haunted Martin Siegert’s dreams ever since he got involved in subglacial research a dozen years ago. Finally, the time has come for him to explore its mysterious waters.

Next week, Siegert, a glaciologist at the University of Bristol, UK, packs his bags for the long journey to the opposite end of the world. Once he has reached the Rothera Research Station of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on an island off the Antarctic Peninsula, he and his science crew will fly about 1,000 kilometres into western Antarctica. On 5 December, the real work begins: drilling straight down through the ice to the pristine lake beneath. In its shadowy waters they hope to find forms of life that have not seen the light of day in millions of years (see ‘Trapped under ice’). And in the lake bed sediments, the team will search for records of the poorly understood history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, potentially revealing how the mighty glacier has waxed and waned over time.

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The amount of plastic bags and other litter on parts of the Arctic Ocean floor has doubled since 2002, according to images gathered off the coast of Greenland.

“There’s a lot going around and there will be more because we produce more plastic — 230 million tonnes of plastic produced every year, that’s the current estimate. Ten per cent of this goes into the sea,” researcher Melanie Bergmann told the Toronto Star.

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An essay written by the Circumpolar Young Leaders group (International Institute for Sustainable Development) was recently published in Arctic describing conference presentations and participation in addition to commonalities found between all members regarding issues facing northern youth.  This essay is unique in depicting youth involvement in northern issues and being written by youth!  

Contact the Author

Download the Essay

by Daniel Cressey, on Nature

Plans to protect swathes of ocean face tough test.

Rich in fish, minerals and scientific potential, the seas around Antarctica are among the planet’s most pristine waters — but fishing vessels are already moving in. Next week, negotiators at a meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR, pronounced ‘cam-lar’) may try to contain the accelerating rush to access the region’s natural resources. At stake is one of the planet’s last great wildernesses — as well as the credibility of the international body set up to protect Antarctica’s marine life.

Read the full story here: 


The new environmental journal, Tvergastein, is seeking contributions. Tvergastein is student-run, and based at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences at Ås. Tvergastein accepts contributions from all academic fields, in Norwegian and English.

The theme of our next issue is the «opening of the Arctic». We are soliciting articles, and original artwork and photography. Articles should be between 5000 and 20 000 characters in length, spaces included. Ideas include, but are not limited to: historical perspectives, global warming, international policy, invasive species, toxicology, discovery. Academic texts, op-ed pieces, and interviews are welcome. Both students and non-students may contribute.

Deadline October 15th

Email: tvergastein@sum.uio.no

More info & 1st issue: www.tvergastein.com

Scientists say they were taken by surprise by the pace of the Arctic ice melt this year

OTTAWA - Arctic ice cover has reached another nadir, melting to its lowest point in recent history.

Scientists say the summer thaw climaxed on Wednesday and now will begin to turn with the coming of colder weather.

But the speed and extent of the melt this year has prompted them to revisit their projections for ice-free summers and for global warming more generally.

"It didn't just beat the 2007 minimum, it beat it by a whole lot," said Julienne Stroeve, a scientist from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre.

Read the full article here

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will realign four program offices in the Office of the Director to maximize research and educationoutcomes for science and engineering, while enhancing NSF's operational agility. The proposed organizational changes include:

        - The Office of Cyberinfrastructure becoming a division within the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering.
        - The Office of Polar Programs becoming a division within the Directorate for Geosciences.
        - The Office of International Science and Engineering merging with the Office of Integrative Activities, and the combined unit becoming the Office of International and Integrative Activities.

These realignments will not result in mission, budgetary, or staffing changes apart from senior leadership roles in the expanded organizations. Pending fulfillment of any statutory or other obligations, the transition to the realigned organization would begin Monday, 1 October 2012.

For further information, please go to: http://nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=125381

via ArcticInfo

Pres release: WWF New Zealand

An alliance of conservation and environment organisations spanning the globe has criticised New Zealand’s revamped Ross Sea marine reserve proposal as failing to show conservation leadership in international negotiations over the future of the region.

The AOA has mapped the New Zealand Government’s proposal against data showing the richness of life in much of the Ross Sea region. The map shows that core areas of the Ross Sea region have been excluded from the marine reserve to preserve fishing interests. The proposal contains a map that shows how carefully the lines on the map have been drawn to avoid the main fishing grounds.

read the fulll arcticle here: 


by By Geoff Keey, New Zealand Coordinator, Antarctic Ocean Alliance

Yesterday we received some bad news from New Zealand about a proposal for the protection of the Ross Sea in Antarctica’s ocean. Plans for a marine reserve in the Ross Sea are in trouble after the New Zealand Cabinet rejected a draft agreement with the United States Government on a joint proposal to create the world’s biggest marine reserve in Antarctica’s Ross Sea.

Read the full text here: 


From UNIS News.

Never heard of glacier mice? Actually, they are small moss balls forming on glacier surfaces. New research by UNIS and Nottingham Trent University shows that there is “hopping” life in these fluffy balls. Invertebrates such as springtails and water bears literally thrive (and survive) in this ice-cold environment. 

Read the full article here

By Jonathan Ball, BBC News

The recent Antarctic Peninsula temperature rise and associated ice loss is unusual but not unprecedented, according to research. Analysis of a 364m-long ice core containing several millennia of climate history shows the region previously basked in temperatures slightly higher than today. However, the peninsula is now warming rapidly, threatening previously stable areas of ice, the study warns.

The work is reported in Nature journal

Read the full article here

Report by Rob Huebert, Heather Exner-Pirot, Adam Lajeunesse, and Jay Gulledge, Center for Climate and Energy Solution, May 2012

The rapid decline in summer sea ice cover in the past decade has outpaced scientific projections and is drawing international attention to emerging commercial development and transport opportunities previously blocked by the frozen sea. The Arctic is therefore a bellwether for how climate change may reshape geopolitics in the post–Cold War era.

Read the report here.

Read more: Climate Change and International Security: The Arctic as a Bellwether

The new Arctic research centre in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, will give a boost to science and sovereignty:

Read full article

Anniversary of Nunavut disaster brings gestures to honour the dead, a new research vessel, a monument, moment of silence

Read full article at:


Two Canadian biologists have reported sighting a handful of grizzly bears and hybrid grizzly/polar bears at unusually high latitudes in the Arctic, indicating that the interbreeding of the two bear species is becoming more common as the climate warms and grizzlies venture farther north. The sightings of three grizzly bears and two hybrid bears, made in late April and May, represent an unprecedented cluster of these animals at such high latitudes. The biologists even took DNA samples from a grizzly bear at 74 degrees North latitude.  

Read full article at:


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