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.

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:


On Aug. 8, the Greenland ice sheet shattered a seasonal record, with more cumulative melting since record-keeping began more than three decades ago, new research finds.

Greenland's melting season usually begins in June, when the first puddles of meltwater emerge, and lasts through early September, when temperatures begin to cool. This year, a full four weeks before the end of the melt season, the ice sheet had shed more water than the record reached during the full season in 2010.

Read More

Canadian federal scientists say increased number of killer whale sightings in Nunavut waters could be due to ice-free sea conditions.  Killer whales are known to predate narwhal and beluga.  Read full article at:


A stronger than usual cyclone blew over the Arctic Ocean north of the Beaufort Sea this past week, says senior scientist Mark Serrezze from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre.  Storms of this magnitude may alter the sea ice cover and rate at which ice melt occurs. Full article at:


Following a meeting of leaders in Lower Post, a community in northern British Columbia, is calling for the residential school to be torn down.  This comes during the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission process.  Read article at:


Katherine Stewart and a team of researchers from University of Saskatchewan and Yukon College have created the Northern Biochar for Northern Remediation project exploring the uses of "biochar" or charcoal created through pyrolysis as an soil remediation product.  They received the first NSERC grant ever given to a northern school (Yukon College).  Unlike conventional fertilizers, biochar only requires one-time addition to soil.  Read full article at:


European Commission: "INTERACT, International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic, has brought most of the Arctic's research stations together. It enables them to share information, improve environmental observations, make data more accessible and collaborate on the development of new environmental monitoring technology. 

At the outset, 32 partners from 14 countries formed the consortium together with the Arctic Council's Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme and WWF Arctic. Since then, 12 new research stations have joined as observer stations, bringing 4 new countries into the consortium. INTERACT includes infrastructures throughout Alaska, Canada, Europe and northern Russia. "

Read the full article: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infrastructures/index_en.cfm?pg=success7 

INTERACT webpage: http://www.eu-interact.org/

The second edition of this intense, 10-day course organized by the University of Alaska at Fairbanks took place from June 10-20, immediately preceding the International Glaciological Society conference.  McCarthy is a small village about 10 hours southeast of Fairbanks, accessible only by a footbridge.  27 students spent their days with 9 instructors, attending lectures, completing exercises, developing group projects, and taking field excursions to the Kennicott Glacier.  Returning home after such a positive experience--filled with new knowledge, an expanded professional (and friend!) network, and magnificent landscapes--was bittersweet.  The Summer School was made possible by the following sponsors: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), University of Alaska at Fairbanks, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (CNSM), and International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG).

New article from Chown et al., in Science magazine. The authors determined that the major short-term threats to Antarctica included climate change impacts on marine systems, marine resource use, ocean acidification, invasive alien species, pollution, habitat alteration, and regulatory challenges within the Antarctic Treaty system.

Read the full arcticle here: 


Polar Field Services (PFS) in partnership with CH2M HILL Polar Services announce an arctic-themed image contest intended to generate material to populate a 2013 calendar.

To participate in this contest, please submit a photo to: comms@polarfield.com.

PFS will contact entrants whose images areselected.

Submission Deadline: Wednesday, 15 August 2012.

For further information about PFS, please go to:http://www.polarfield.com.

The Norwegian polar Institutes interactive Svalbard map have recently been updated with a 3D view.

Clicking the map button will literally add an extra dimension to the map! Along with the existing features such as the aerial photos, information on place names and in some places photographs this makes the map a useful tool when planning fieldwork on Svalbard.

The map can be found here: http://toposvalbard.npolar.no/

by Steve Killgallon 

A group of scientists and environmentalists are fighting to end fishing in Antarctica's Ross Sea

Read the full story here:



Volume 65, Number 2 

Journal of the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA)

The Arctic Institute of North America (AINA) announces publication of the June 2012 issue of the journal ARCTIC, Volume 65, Number 2. A non-profit membership organization and multidisciplinary research institute of the University of Calgary, AINA's mandate is to advance the study of the North American and circumpolar Arctic through the natural and social sciences, as well as the arts and humanities; and to acquire, preserve, and disseminate information on physical, environmental, and social conditions in the North. Created as a binational corporation in 1945, the Institute's United States Corporation is housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

For information on becoming an AINA member and receiving the journal, please visit the Institute's website at: http://www.arctic.ucalgary.ca/. Members have the options of receiving ARCTIC in print, online, or both in print and online.

Read more: June 2012 Issue of the Journal ARCTIC Available


A new NSF-funded website entitled 'Climate Data Guide' is now available. It can be accessed at: https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/.

The website is a source for information and advice on the strengths, limitations, and applications of climate data. It shares expertise and advice on datasets, including strengths and limitations from expert users. The Climate Data Guide facilitates access to many types of datasets and arranges them in convenient categories, such as data related to earth system model diagnostics, data from various satellite missions, and the numerous atmospheric reanalyses, to name a few. Over 3,000 unique monthly visitors from around the world make the Climate Data Guide a one-of-a-kind platform for increasing the visibility of climate data sets as well as studies assessing climate data. Users are from academia, government, and the private sector.

To be the best possible resource for the community, the Climate Data Guide depends upon contributions from data developers and users. Comments and perspectives on datasets or model evaluation strategies are encouraged and will be credited to the author. To provide feedback, please go to: http://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/contribute.

Suggestions and questions may be submitted to the website itself or emailed to: climatedataguide@cgd.ucar.edu.


New Report Available

A report released by the Dickey Center for International Understanding and the UArctic Institute for Applied Circumpolar Policy (IACP) finds that rapidly changing health conditions in the Arctic, due in part to climate change and globalization, call for a dramatically new approach to research and delivery of services to improve the health and wellness in arctic communities.

Twenty-seven health experts met at Dartmouth in 2011 to tackle the critical health issues facing arctic communities and to recommend ways of combating these problems. They conclude that a focus on wellness and the resilience of northern communities is a more productive path to solutions than many traditional health care approaches.

Communities from the Canadian North to the Russian Arctic face a variety of health challenges ranging from the movement north of insect and water borne diseases as temperatures rise, the threat of environmental contaminants such as mercury, an increase in heart disease and obesity with a shift away from traditional foods, as well as the difficulty of providing health services to remote areas.

The report's recommendations include assuring that health research creates tangible benefits for communities as well as individuals, brings local and traditional knowledge into health practices, actively involves the community in making health research priorities, and focuses more on holistic practices that protect and sustain people rather than solely on health problems.

The report can be downloaded by clicking on the link in the right-hand sidebar at: http://iacp.dartmouth.edu/.

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