By John Upton
An unusually warm Arctic spring fueled the second-hottest April on record globally, with global warming and unusual weather conspiring to shrink sea ice and push up polar temperatures.
April temperatures were 1.5°F (0.9°C) warmer worldwide than the 1950 to 1980 average, NASA data released Mondayshowed, extending to three a string of hot months in which temperatures were surpassed just once in history. April temperatures were higher only in 2016.
Russian Arctic National Park's website has announced the departure from Arkhangelsk on May 14 of the first Arctic clean-up expedition in 2017. The ship Andrei Osipov set sail for one of the Franz Josef Land Archipelago's most difficult to reach islands, Graham Bell, where expeditions to clean up past environmental damage already took place in 2013 and 2015.
"This summer, clean-up work on Graham Bell will take place on two sites on the island's north — Matusevich Bay, and Cape Aerosyomka. The expedition members will collect around 5,000 tons of industrial waste, scrap metal — the remains of transport and caterpillar track vehicles, and barrels", the announcement reads.
Work on the island will continue until October. General director of the sub-contractor Arctic Consulting Service Sergei Kamyshanov said that the first lot of collected waste, around 2,500 tons, will be brought back to the mainland in July.
As Russia marks Year of the Environment, the clean-up effort in the Arctic has resumed after a year-long hiatus. Clean-up work will take place on four of the archipelago's islands — Hooker, Heiss, Alexandra Land, and Graham Bell. The total cost is around 600 million rubles.
By Hannah Hoag
Binding pact aims to ease access to field sites and shipment of samples across national borders.
Researchers working in the Arctic will face less red tape, under an agreement signed by representatives of the eight Arctic nations at a meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska, on 11 May.