Arctic News Archives - Environment
of older (2003-2004) news items that relate to the environment of Arctic
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News - 2004
December 20, 2004 -
Arctic Hit Hard By Climate Change - CBS
The Arctic has seen an 8 percent loss of sea ice over the past 30 years and a 3-7 degree rise
in temperatures over the past 50 years. This has contributed about 3 inches to global sea rise over the past twenty years.
December 15, 2004 -
Arctic Ocean Was Once Downright Balmy - National Post (Canada)
from Oxford and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
have studied sediment cores from the Arctic Ocean and determined
that 70 million years ago, things were much warmer there.
December 14, 2004 -
Mysterious Northern Light Brightens Arctic Night - Edmonton Journal
Hunters in Resolute Bay say that the Arctic winter nights are not as dark as they were 6 years ago. They report a colored band of
light extends along the horizon now, whereas it used to be almost totally dark.
December 13, 2004 -
Pollution Hotspots - BBC
has been designated as a pollution hotspot due to problems with
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) that threaten the health of
humans and animals. POPs are probably carried from industrialized
nations on wind currents.
December 1, 2004 -
Melting Arctic Bogs May Hasten Warming... - National Geographic
in western Siberia is home to the world's largest peat bog. If this
peatland thaws and dries out due to the current warming trend, it
would begin to release vast amounts of carbon dioxide, which could
further accelerate global warming.
December 1, 2004 -
Arctic Trip Upsets Old Idea of Starved Seabed - International
looking at an undersea ridge near the North Pole, say the sediments
there are so biologically rich that the seabed may hold significant
oil and gas deposits.
November 24, 2004 -
Arctic States Agree
To Vague Plan to Slow Thaw - ENN
countries, including the United States, encouraged "effective measures"
to adapt to climate change, but did not come to any agreements as
to which measures to adopt. Environmentalists were not pleased with
the vagueness of the policy document. (See similar
story from Houston Chronicle.)
November 18, 2004 -
Findings From Arctic Coring Expedition ... - Space Daily
from 10 countries met to analyze sediment cores from below the Arctic
Ocean. These cores seem to indicate that the Arctic Ocean was frozen
much earlier than previously thought. More results are expected
in the next few months.
Nov. 12, 2004 -
Arctic Thaw May Open Shipping Lanes, But ... - ABC - Australia
thawing of the Arctic Ocean may result in a shortcut between the Pacific
and Atlantic, a trans-Arctic shipping boom is not expected due to
high costs and numerous icebergs.
November 8, 2004 - Arctic
Warming At Twice Global Rate - CNN
is heating the Arctic almost twice as fast as the rest of the planet
in a thaw that threatens millions of livelihoods and could wipe
out polar bears by 2100, an eight-nation report said. (Similar
story from BBC)
November 4, 2004 - Iceland
Volcano Affects Flights - UK Times Online
exploded from beneath Iceland's biggest glacier spewing ash and
gas more seven miles into the air. It continues to steam, but has
caused no injuries or evacuations. (Similar
story by BBC).
Denizens Feel The Heat - NWF
is adversely affecting wildlife and human communities, especially
in the Arctic. For many changes in the sea ice are particularly
devastating. The polar bear is already in trouble.
October 11, 2004 - Arctic
Radiation Levels Declining - The State
levels in the Arctic caused by above-ground nuclear testing and
the Chernobyl disaster have fallen in much of the region, though
the far north is still at risk. Aging nuclear materials on the Kola
Peninsula in Russia are thought to pose a risk of more exposure.
October 7, 2004 -
Arctic Ice Melting More Quickly - CBC
Sea ice coverage
was 13.4 % below its average in September. This is the third year
in a row with extreme ice loss. It isn't clear exactly what is driving
this, but it might be global warming.
September 29, 2004 -
Melting Glacier Erodes Greenland Tourism - Taipei Times
residents are quite concerned about the report that the Sermeq Kujalleq
glacier had receded more than 5 km in the past two years. The community
depends heavily on tourists who come to see the glacier calve into
September 28, 2004 -
Martian Features Share Arctic Namesakes - CBC
and geographical features on Mars are named after places and bush
pilots in the Arctic. These names may not be permanent but are used
by scientists to refer to some of their discoveries.
September 15, 2004 -
Announces Largest Greenland Diamond Find... - CCN Matthews
A total of
120 diamonds greater than 106 microns have been recovered from a
location in West Greenland. Many garnets have also been spotted
in the area. Hudson thus has applied for a permit to acquire an
additional 89 sq km in the Garnet Lake area.
September 7, 2004 -
Arctic - Space Daily
from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program's Arctic Coring Expedition
(ACEX) have analyzed some fossils from their sediment cores and
concluded that the North Pole once had a subtropical climate.
Sept. 3, 2004 - Global
Warming Thaws Arctic, Divides Governments - Yahoo!
panel has established that the Arctic climate is warming rapidly
now and even more rapid changes are expected and that human activities
are partly responsible for this warming. But there is no agreement
among countries which border the Arctic region on how it should
August 31, 2004 - Ice
Clarifies Climate's Secrets - USA Today
possible plant material and mud extracted from the bottom of the
Greenland ice sheet at North GRIP are providing many new interesting
insights into climate through the ages and possible life at the
bottom of the ice sheet.
August 30, 2004 - Arctic
Coring Expedition Retrieves First Arctic Core- Space Daily
mountain chain near the North Pole may hold clues to the climate
50 million years ago. Scientists have extracted a 40 million year
old sediment core from the Arctic Ocean Ridge to unlock these secrets.
(More on dangers faced by the drilling team from scotsman.com.
August 28, 2004 - Major
Temperature Rise Recorded in Arctic - ABC
Ocean has shown a major rise in temperature this year according
to scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine
August 27, 2004 - Toxins
Accumulate In Arctic Peoples, Animals - National Geographic
people and animals living in the Arctic have shown very high levels
of chemical contaminants in their bodies. Persistent Organic Pollutants
(POPs) from industrialized nations are infiltrating the food web.
August 25, 2004 - Arctic
Ecosystem Under Threat - Washington Times
oil and gas exploration and drilling as well as overfishing, nuclear
waste and the invasion of non-native species is wreaking havoc in
the Barents Sea area according to the United Nations Environmental
Program. (See a
map of Barents Sea. View
map of wells in the area. Similar
story by BBC.)
August 24, 2004 - Norway
To Consider Boosting Arctic Activity, Oil Minister Says - Bloomberg
considering opening more of its waters to increased oil drilling
and exploration.They recently reopened some of the Barents Sea for
exploration and are under pressure from oil companies to increase
drilling in the area.
August 10, 2004 - Satellite-Observed
Changes In the Arctic - Physics Today
changes have been seen in the surface temperature, permafrost, ice
thickness and snow cover of the Arctic over the past decade. Many
of these changes have been captured using satellite data. The analysis
of these data show a compelling picture of warming throughout the
July 28, 2004 - Greenland
Ice-Melt Speeding Up - BBC
with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland reports that
the edges of the Greenland ice sheet are melting 10 times more rapidly
than had been indicated by previous research.
July 17, 2004 - Protecting
The Arctic From Oilmen - International Herald Tribune
A plan has
been announced to lease rights for oil and gas development in Teshekpuk
Lake, an important breeding ground for many Arctic birds and subsistence
area for the indigenous Inupiat who hunt and fish there. (Map
of the area - The lake is near the yellow-colored Beaufort Sea
July 15, 2004 - Another
Record Minimum For Sea Ice Cover In Arctic Ocean? - NSIDC
and concentration in the Arctic Ocean in June was much lower than
typical this year than in past years, indicating that the annual
minimum ice extent is likely to well below normal for the third
year in a row.
July 3, 2004 - Canada
Starts Seabed Mapping... - CBC
begun mapping the seabed in the Beaufort Sea, taking a step toward
establishing sovereignty under international law. At stake is control
of oil and gas reserves in the area.
June 6, 2004 - Methane
"Belch" Theory Gets Boost - BBC
of gas vents in the Nordic Sea lend credence to the notion that
a large release of methane 55 million years ago might have caused
global warming in the Eocene period.
June 4, 2004 - Ancient
Life On Cold-Water Corals - BBC
The UN Environment
Programme reports that cold-water reefs are quite widespread and
harbor many organisms thought to be long-extinct. These ancient
reefs are spread from Greenland to the sub-Antarctic islands.
June 3, 2004 - Man-Made
Toxins Found In Arctic - CBS
used in televisions, toys and fire retardants have been found in
Arctic wildlife according to Norwegian scientists. This is a sign
that these chemicals do not break down as quickly as had been thought.
(Similar story from Yahoo)
May 31, 2004 - North
Pole Pack Ice Dwindles - CBS
are probing the pack ice around the North Pole to try to determine
the effects of the dwindling pack ice on the oceanic and atmospheric
circulation and commerce.
May 25, 2004 - Fears
Raised Over Fast Arctic Thaw - ABC/Reuters
of an eight-nation study indicates that global warming is hitting
the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Climate
change there is characterized as "dramatic." (Similar
story at CBC North. Similar
story at Independent.co.uk)
May 13, 2004 - Inuit
'Poisoned From Afar' By Climate Change - New Zealand Herald
of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference said that the Inuit are paying
dearly for the actions of people in other countries. Toxins and
rising temperatures are two of the challenges caused by pollution
in the Arctic.
April 26, 2004 - New
Ice Sheet Research Indicates Possible Global Climate Change
- Newswise (U of Missouri-Columbia)
of satellite data from 1978-2002 indicates that the upper elevations
of the Greenland ice sheet are thinning especially in the southeast
and that this trend has been going on for several decades.
April 26, 2004 - Arctic
Ozone Loss More Sensitive... - Science Daily
have quantified a previously unknown link between Arctic ozone loss
and changes in stratospheric temperatures.The sensitivity of ozone
to temperature was significantly higher than had been predicted
by atmospheric chemistry models.
April 25, 2004 - Fallout
From Melting Arctic Sea Ice ... - Anchorage Daily News
Loss of Arctic
sea ice may cause massive winter storms in Alaska according to a
new climate study, while while causing western states in the US
to experience a significant drought.
April 23, 2004 - NASA
Arctic Sea Ice Study May Stir Up Climate Models - Science Daily
It has just
recently been determined, by analyzing synthetic aperture radar
data from the RADARSAT satellite, that Arctic sea ice undergoes
small oscillations twice a day, even in the winter. This may increase
chances for new ice formation and should be factored into climate
models according to the scientists.
April 16, 2004 - Satellites
Record Weakening North Atlantic Current - Science Daily
records indicate that the North Atlantic Ocean circulation weakened
considerably in the late 1990s when compared to levels in the 1970s
and 1980s. This could herald dramatic changes in North Atlantic
Ocean climate, but we won't know for another 5-10 years. (Abstract
from Science magazine.)
2004 - Pole
"Flip" Takes 7000 Years - The Australian
sediment cores seem to indicate that a reversal of the earth's magnetic
field takes about 7000 years, though it occurs somewhat faster at
April 7, 2004 - Greenland's
Ice Cap Under Threat - BBC
glaciology study predicts an 8°C increase in Greenland's temperature
by 2350. Such a change would melt the Greenland ice cap and cause
average sea level to rise. (Similar story from
April 2, 2004 - Yukon
Doubtful About Offshore ANWAR Drilling - North CBC
Alaskan governor favors oil drilling off the shores of the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge, the members of the Yukon government are
not so sure it is a good idea.
Mar. 24, 2004 - Russia
Arctic Oil Facility To Ease Northern Export- Daily Times
A huge Russian
oil tanker on the Barents Sea will begin operation as a storage
facility this week. It is predicted this will make exports to Europe
and the United States easier.
Mar. 17, 2004 - Alaska
Oil Would Barely Help U.S. - Alexanders Gas & Oil Connections
Dept. analysis showed that opening the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge to oil development would only slightly reduce America's dependence
on imports and lower the prices by less than 50 cents per barrel.
Mar. 9, 2004 - Over
the Top - SMH Australia
of the Arctic ice cap may have a profound effect on global shipping,
by opening the much sought Northeast Passage. If the ice cap continues
to melt, this route could become as busy as the Suez Canal.
8, 2004 - Will
The World Just Chill Out - Space Daily
warming in the Arctic could plunge Western Europe and North America
into a deep freeze in the next few decades.The thawing of sea
ice could disturb the warming currents found in the North Atlantic.
Satellite records of sea ice extent show a clear retreat of the
sea ice over the past 25 years, a trend that appears to be accelerating.
Feb. 9, 2004 -
Scientists Discover Ozone-Destroying Molecule - NASA - JPL
of data from a NASA aircraft flying over the Arctic has allowed
observation of a molecule (chlorine monoxide dimer) that has been
postulated to be important in the destruction of stratospheric ozone.
Measurements of this molecule will help scientists better quantify
ozone loss in this region.
Jan. 30, 2004 -
Exxon's Alaska Spill Bill Climbs to $5.8bn - Australian
judge has ordered Exxon to pay $US4.5 billion ($Euro5.8) in punitive
damages for the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Exxon plans to appeal
Jan. 27, 2004 -
Glaciers and Sea Ice Endangered By Rising Temperatures - ENN
In both 2002
and 2003, the Northern Hemisphere showed record low sea ice cover.
A major glacier in Greenland is thinning four times faster than
in the past. Similar losses of ice cover are being reported around
Jan. 25, 2004 -
Global Warming Could Plunge Britain Into New Ice Age... - NZ
change in the circulation of the North Atlantic Ocean, tied to global
warming, could cause Britain to experience a much colder climate
if it turns off the Gulf Stream, as it appears to be poised to do.
This change could occur within our lifetime, according to scientists.
Jan. 16, 2004 - ...Origins
of Peat Bogs Raises Concerns - Science Daily
peat bogs which are typically frozen appear to be huge repositories
of carbon dioxide and thus play a major role in world climate balance.
If these bogs thaw due to currently rising temperatures in the Arctic,
there is concern that they may release this gas into the atmosphere
causing major and unexpected shifts in climate. (Similar
story from National Geographic; Another
story from NSF).
Jan. 5, 2004 - Soot
and Snow: A Hot Combination - Science a GoGo
on snow alters the snow reflectivity according to new NASA climate
simulations. Soot deposits, particularly in the Arctic region may
be playing an important role in climatic changes recently seen,
such as thinning sea ice and melting glaciers and permafrost.
Environment - 2003
2003 - ...Spring
Thaw Makes A Difference - NASA
using a suite of microwave remote sensing instruments have observed
a trend of earlier thawing across the northern latitudes. Spring
thaw has advanced almost one day per year since 1988, lengthening
the growing season. Increased vegetation and growing season allows
plants to remove more harmful greenhouse gases.
2003 - ...Ocean
Mapping Cruise to Arctic - NOAA
from NOAA, the University of New Hampshire and others have recently
discovered and mapped a complex underwater mountain (seamount) while
doing ice-breaking activities. They used multibeam sonar to accomplish
the task. They also gathered evidence of ice age glaciation from
the sea floor.
2003 - Major
Greenland Glacier... Now Shrinking Dramatically - Ohio State
glacier in Greenland which had come to a halt in the early 1990s
is now on the move again. This glacier is one of the major drainage
outlets for the Greenland Ice Sheet. It shows signs of thinning
(12 meters/year) as well as increasing speed (9 km/year).
2003 - Melting
Ice At World's Rooftop Stirs Concern - Christian Science Monitor
cap shrinkage of about 10% per decade is causing great concern as
scientists document changes in flora and fauna, sea ice and climate.
The changes could impact shipping, food production, and climate
across the globe. (Similar story from Spaceflight
2003 - Arctic
Clean-up Boost - New Zealand News
The US is
providing $49.2 million to help with the UN-backed clean-up of the
Russian Arctic. The area is contaminated mecury, oil, and nuclear
waste from the Cold War years. (Longer article on this topic
2003 - ...Evidence
of Arctic Warming Grows - NASA
provides interesting animations and video and describes how scientists
are trying to look at what's happening to polar ice, and more importantly
why those changes are occuring.
2003 - Scientists
Use Satellite to "Pond-er" Melted Arctic Ice - NASA
and aircraft video are being used as part of a new technique for
locating "melt ponds" of water on Arctic sea ice. This new technique
will help scientists better understand heat balance in the Arctic.
2003 - Ice
Melting More Quickly In Arctic - China.org
have discovered that the ice is melting at accelerating speed in
the Arctic which may have implications for worldwide weather patterns.
2003 - New
Chemicals in Arctic's Toxic Stew - MSNBC
used in tv sets and computers and as stain removers and flame retardants
have been showing up in polar bears, whales and birds, according
the latest 5 year study. This adds to other toxins that have previously
been found in these animals.
2003 - Rare
Iceberg Sighted Off Tuktoyaktuk - CBC North
A large piece
of ice has been sighted off the coast of the Northwest Territories
in the Bering Sea. It is quite rare to see ice this large in this
26, 2003 - Ice
Cap Meltdown Warning - New Zealand Herald
Hunt Ice Shelf breakup has caused a New Zealand scientist to warn
that the Arctic ice cap may be melted entirely in as few as 70 years.
23, 2003 - Arctic
ice Shelf Splits - BBC
Hunt Ice Shelf off Ellesmere Island, the largest Arctic ice shelf,
has split allowing release of water from a fresh-water lake. This
is further evidence of climate change in the Arctic.
17, 2003 - Spawning
Salmon Polluting Alaskan Lakes... - Bloomberg.com
from the Pacific are carrying PCBs in their fat cells. These PCBs
are probably the result of ocean pollution from coastal factories.
The salmon then seem to be polluting the lakes to which they migrate
with these cancer-causing chemicals.
2003 - Scientists
Plunge Into Arctic Lakes - CBC News
scientists are collecting water, algae and zooplankton from Lake
Hazen, about 800 km from the North Pole, to get a better handle
on climate change and its effects on Arctic lakes.
2003 - Breaking
Through Greenland's Ice Cap - Daily News
Greenland Ice Core Project hit bedrock after seven years of drilling.The
ice was nearly 2 miles deep. PRISM
was there for some of this
work - view our Video
Gallery to learn more.
2003 - Behavior
of Arctic Ocean Ridge Confounds Predictions... - Science Daily
ridge under the Arctic ice cap is volcanically active and has multiple
hydrothermal vents. This discovery may lead to changes in the understanding
of how ocean ridges work to produce the Earth's crust.
(More from NSF)
2003 - WWF
Wants Pipeline Guarantees - CBC North
Fund leaders will not oppose a McKenzie Valley pipeline if the agreement
contains protections for sensitive cultural and environmental areas.
2003 - Mapping
Ice Sheets In Greenland - Chinotague Beacon
of the Greenland ice sheet may help scientists track and understand
global climate change. PRISM scientists
are involved with this project also!
2003 - Hydrogen
Fuel Could Widen Ozone Hole - Nature
fuel may not be as environmentally friendly as hoped. It appears
that long-term use could increase damage to the ozone layer.
2003 - Mapping
the Greenland Ice Sheets - NASA
A new survey
of Greenland's ice sheets is scheduled during May and June. Both
the southern and northern portions will be surveyed.
8, 2003 -Arctic
Lakes Deemed Warmest In History - Globe & Mail
of fossilized algae in lake sediment has led scientists to the conclusion
that the lakes are warmer now than they have been in 5000 years.
(Additional information from Science
1, 2003 -Yearly
Arctic Ozone Loss Fluctuates ... - Space Daily
thermal data from NASA's Upper Atmosphere Satellite seems to indicate
that ozone depletion in the Arctic region varies widely from year
to year in timing, pattern, and amount.
31, 2003 -Global
Warming Could Trigger ... - Science a GoGo
and partial melting of polar ice shelves could trigger a cascade
of climatic changes that can occur with surprising rapidity.
05, 2003 -Mixed
Verdict On Effect Of Oil Drilling - Washington Post
from the National Academies of Science and Engineering indicates
that the government has done much to minimize environmental impact
of oil and gas exploration in Alaska, but that the adverse consequences
have not been eliminated and will continue to accumulate in the
the report here.
Weather Worries Yukoners - CBC North
Ecological Cooperative in Whitehorse reports that many Alaskan communities
have reported melting permafrost.
2003 - Yukon
Better Suited For Pipeline - north.cbc.ca
study group reports that the Yukon is better suited for the building
of a new gas pipeline than are the North West Territories. This
study particularly looked at the impact of construction on transportation
2003 - Global
Warming Could Influence Asian Monsoon - Science Daily
studying the link between the climate of the North Atlantic Ocean
and the Asian monsoon season have concluded that if the North Atlantic
cools significantly due to increased ice melt, that one of the results
could be a weakened monsoon season.
2003 - Arctic Ice Shelf Shrinking - KnoxNews Sentinel
of Tennessee scientists have found that the arctic ice sheet had
shrunk by fifteen percent and lost nearly half its thickness over
the past twenty years. It appears this is having a deleterious effect
on krill and clams which are an essential part of the Arctic food
chain. (You can view the changes in sea ice via an animation
at the SOCC
Thaw in Greenland Threatens New Ice Age - Guardian Unlimited
in Greenland broke all known records last year, causing changes
in the Gulf Stream. This may a colder continental climate in England.
2003 - NASA
Begins New Year With International Arctic Ozone Study - Earth
from several countries are working together this winter to get a
more complete measurement of the ozone and other atmospheric gasses
in the Arctic. The major push will be from January - March of this
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