Arctic ice melt could trigger uncontrollable climate change at global level


By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian

Scientists warn increasingly rapid melting could trigger polar ‘tipping points’ with catastrophic consequences felt as far away as the Indian Ocean

Arctic scientists have warned that the increasingly rapid melting of the ice cap risks triggering 19 “tipping points” in the region that could have catastrophic consequences around the globe.

Besieged Russian scientists drive away polar bears

Ship delivered dogs and flares to staff at Arctic weather station after they were encircled by 10 adult bears for two weeks

Alec Luhn in Moscow and Elle Hunt

Russian scientists have driven away polar bears that besieged their weather station on an island in the Arctic Ocean for two weeks.

A nearby ship was able to reach the island and supply the scientists with dogs and flares to scare off the bears, said the Sevgidromet state monitoring network that owns the station.

Five scientists based at the weather station on Troynoy island, in the Kara Sea north of Siberia, were encircled by 10 adult bears and some cubs, the Russian news agency TASS reported on Monday.

A female bear had taken to spending nights beneath the station’s windows, and one of two resident dogs was killed on 31 August.

The five personnel – two married couples among them – ran out of flares with which to deter the predators. Troynoy, the largest island in the Izvestiy Tsik archipelago, is 27km long.

The next supply ship that could bring dogs and flares to the island was due in “about a month”, Sevgidromet head Vassiliy Shevchenko told TASS on Tuesday.

But the flagship of Russia’s research expedition fleet, the Akademik Tryoshnikov, happened to be passing nearby and was able to stop at the island, Sevgidromet said. Besides flares, employees at the network’s Arctic weather stations carry electronic sirens and sometimes firearms to ward off bears. They are instructed to leave the station in pairs for safety.

This Arctic town has running water for just four months of the year

GREENLAND: How do you supply running water when it is frozen for most of the year? The Greenlandic town of Qaanaaq has some creative solutions.

By: Rasmus Kerrn-Jespersen


Greenland has no national grid to supply electricity and water to all of its towns and villages. Residents in Qaanaaq--Greenland’s northern most town--have to be creative when it comes to providing these basic services.

Qaanaaq is so far north that for eight months of the year it is simply too cold for rivers to flow.

Endurance Test: Johanna

A record-holding freediver plunges beneath the perilous Arctic ice British director and photographer Ian Derry talks about his profile of Finnish freediver Johanna Nordblad, who holds the world record for a 50-meter dive under ice, after finding the sport during recovery from a downhill biking accident that almost took her leg: “I became aware of Johanna from her sister who is a photographer. I liked her story—to have such a terrible injury and to overcome it in the most extreme way. “I dived under the ice to get a perspective on it and it was literally breath taking” “Once I had met her and gone to the location—which at that point was -24C—I knew I had to make the film. The environment and the silence there is something I will never forget. “I dived under the ice to get a perspective on it and it was literally breath taking. What she does is so close to the edge, but she does it in such a comfortable way.”

Arctic-COAST I: Indicators, Resilience, and Governance in Arctic Coastal Social-Ecological Systems

This workshop will gather social and physical scientists, as well as community members, policymakers and business representatives to discuss the issues of measuring impacts of development and environmental change on coastal communities and designing sustainable development indicators to assess the condition of coastal social-ecological systems (CoSES). Furthermore, the workshop will discuss the system of science- and community-based indicators can be used for local and national policymaking and improving business opportunities in Arctic coastal towns.

Key themes/questions:
1.    What are the major changes and drivers within CoSES in the Russian (western) Arctic vis-à-vis other Barents and Polar Regions?
2.    What are the most important elements of SES do we measure/monitor to understand impacts and responses within CoSES and assess their resilience?
3.    What experience is available in the Arctic in respect to standard observations and community-based monitoring?
4.    What are the avenues to connect data and knowledge with governance and business opportunities, in particular in the Russian Arctic coast? (cf. Arctic investment protocol).