Shipwreck in the Arctic

Ships in Arctic Make Rescuers Sit ‘Up at Night’” (front page, July 24) is on point that prevention is the best course of action. Preventive measures for the worst case are in the works.

In the event of a shipwreck, a heavy fuel oil spill has been identified as the top threat to Arctic marine life and to Arctic residents who depend on this sea for food. Heavy fuel oil is far more toxic than lighter fuels, breaking down slowly, particularly in the cold Arctic.

Uncharted waters, extraordinary distances from infrastructure, severe weather, darkness and hazards including sea ice make spill response essentially impossible. Costs to shippers for a spill would be extreme.

Russian Arctic development forum due in Arkhangelsk region in fall

MOSCOW, July 18. /TASS/. /TASS/. A forum, devoted to management of the Russian Arctic's innovative development, will take place in mid-September in the Arkhangelsk region's Severodvinsk at the branch of the Northern (Arctic) Federal University. The forum's participants will discuss the Arctic zone's growth points and will pay special attention to development of mono-industrial cities, the University's press service said on Tuesday.

"Development of the Arctic territory is an important stimulus for development of industrial clusters, complexes, for formation of common innovative space," the press service said. "Thus, at the forum Management of the Russian Arctic Zone's Innovative Development" experts will discuss growth points."

"The project's head, leader of the conference's organizing committee Elena Bogdanova says the Arctic mono-industrial cities should become an important growth point and impetus for the Arctic's innovative development, thus the forum will take place in Severodvinsk, which is a mono-industrial city," the press service said.

The organizers have stopped receiving applications and say more than 300 representatives of Russian regions, first of all in the Arctic, will participate in the event.

New details on mercury’s route to the Arctic

By Stu Borman

Most deposition of the neurotoxic metal to tundra is Hg0 from atmosphere, not Hg2+ from rain and snow


Mining operations, coal-fired plants, and other sources of mercury pollution worldwide have led to the deposition of the neurotoxic metal in the Arctic. The chemical mechanism behind this deposition is not completely understood.

Environmental scientists’ prevailing hypothesis is that Hg from man-made and natural sources travels through the atmosphere and collects in the Arctic primarily as Hg2+ that falls in rain and snow.