Russia offers Weekend in Arctic cost-saving tour More:

The northern Arkhangelsk region plans to launch a cost-saving tour called Weekend in Arctic

MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. The northern Arkhangelsk region plans to launch soon a cost-saving tour called Weekend in Arctic, the local tourist-information center told TASS.

"All trips to the North are directly associated with high prices, which is true, and the first thing we did is we have negotiated and now will offer a cost-saving tour," the center's Director Svetlana Kornitskaya said, adding the project will begin in late September. The tour's price is under 5,000 rubles ($88) for three days, it includes sightseeing in Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk, a trip to the White Sea and a few museums. This program will present the North, tourists will learn about conquering the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route, she continued. One of the tasks the tourist center had is to expand the very notion of the Arctic tourism and to demonstrate to tourists the different Arctic - its continental part.

"From 2014, Arkhangelsk is a part of the Arctic zone," she continued. "On one hand, it is an advantage to position the city as an Arctic territory thus attracting tourists, and, on the other hand, we have always feared that could be taken as a spoof."

Arctic Council marks its 21st anniversary

The Arctic Council celebrates its anniversary on September 19. The organization, which regulates activities of all the states in the region in many spheres, has been operating for 21 years now. It focuses on ensuring sustainable development in the region, protecting the environment, and conserving the culture, traditions and languages of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic. The founders specifically agreed that the Arctic Council should not deal with military security issues.

The Council was established in 1996 in Ottawa by the eight Arctic States — Russia, the United States, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Finland, and Iceland — joined by six organizations of indigenous peoples.

Cool August restrains Arctic sea ice melt

Sea ice in the Arctic shrank to its yearly lowest extent on September 13, new data shows.

Arctic sea ice this northern summer dropped to its eighth lowest level on record, new data shows. That's far below average, but considerably above the record low set five years ago.

The National Snow and Ice Data Centre said on September 13 sea ice in Arctic shrank to its smallest area of the season: 4.64 million square kilometres.

Data centre scientist Ted Scambos said the Arctic sea ice set a record for the smallest winter amount earlier this year and was close to 2012's record low levels through July. Then a cloudy and cooler than normal August kept melt to a minimum.

"Weather patterns in August saved the day," Scambos said.

The Arctic acts as a crucial refrigerator for Earth's climate, scientists say. A growing number of studies have linked Arctic sea ice decline to changes in the jet stream and some bouts of extreme weather.