Ice loss moves the earth – even hundreds of miles beneath

At the surface, Antarctica is a motionless and frozen landscape.  Yet hundreds of miles down the Earth is moving at a rapid rate, new research has shown. The study, led by Newcastle University, UK, and published this week in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, explains for the first time why the upward motion of the Earth’s crust in the Northern Antarctic Peninsula is currently taking place so quickly.

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Russian Pacific Fleet stations naval base on Wrangel Island

Sailors of the Russian Pacific Fleet have stationed a fleet base on Wrangel Island on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Pacific Fleet said Wednesday. "Sailors of the Pacific Fleet, who arrived at the Arctic island on board the Marshal Gelovani ship for a hydrographic research, have raised a Russian naval flag on the island, which heralded stationing of a first ever fleet base on that territory," said Pacific Fleet spokesman, Captain First Rank Roman Martov.

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Investigation into walrus disease closes with culprit

A few years ago, scientists found sick walrus and other seal species along the coast of Alaska. While seals suffered heavy losses from the mysterious disease, infected walrus did not seem to die that easily. Examination of the so-called “unusual mortality incident” began in 2011. Infected animals showed symptoms like bleeding skin lesions, respiratory problems, lethargy, and loss of hair. But the good news now are, that no walrus with symptoms has been found for over a year. Thus, investigations in walrus were stopped according to both NOAA and Fish and Wildlife Service. But the cause for the disease still remains a mystery.

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Guided and still confused

Many of the ships cruising in the Arctic have their own staff of lecturers and guides on board. They are hired to teach the passengers about the many faces of the Arctic and to guide them on shore. Also in Greenland, this practices are applied. But this could wind up problems for the local tourism industry.

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Fur seals are hit hard by climate change

Genetic analysis of Antarctic fur seals, alongside decades of in-depth monitoring,* has provided unique insights into the effect of climate change on a population of top-predators. Published in Nature this week, the findings show that the seals have significantly altered in accordance with changes in food availability that are associated with climate conditions. Despite a shift in the population towards ‘fitter’ individuals, this fitness is not passing down through generations, leaving the population in decline.

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New Report Calls for Protection of the Weddell Sea Region

As part of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance’s (AOA) proposal to designate marine protected areas (MPA) and marine reserves across 19 regions around Antarctica, the AOA today launched its new report titled Antarctic Ocean Legacy: Towards Protection of the Weddell Sea Region. The findings of the report aim to contribute towards ongoing scientific and policy work – currently led by Germany and Russia – on the region, which is located south of the Atlantic Ocean. The Weddell Sea region is renowned for having one of the most intact ecosystems left on earth and for being a major engine of global ocean circulation.

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Russia in times of change

Russia is the country with the largest Arctic area. Its entire northern coastal region from Murmansk to Uelen is considered a part of the Arctic. This means also that Russia also includes the most number of time zones, 9 until now. But times are a changing, also in Russia, not just literally. Because the Russian parliament has discussed a time reform and has issued new laws for this.

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From China with Love – China’s Panda diplomacy in Denmark

China has intensified its focus in direction of the Arctic over the last years. According to experts, its resources and the shorter transportation routes are of the biggest national concern. Also on a political level, China has intensified the contacts to various Arctic states and started a charming offensive, also towards Denmark. In April, the Copenhagen Zoo had visitors from the Middle Kingdom: two Panda bears. But China’s gift of two giant pandas to the Copenhagen Zoo last month might have been more than just a friendly gesture. 

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New polar research ship for UK

The exploration of the Polar Regions is constantly advancing because our knowledge about these important regions is by far incomplete and sketchy at best. Through technical advancement scientists also get new platforms to conduct research in these difficult areas. One of the most important platforms are ice breakers which not only work as a means of transportation but are proper swimming research bases. The latest plans for a new ice breaker have been presented by the UK.

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Stay fat and still healthy -Polar bear genome gives new insight into adaptations to high-fat diet

A comparison of the genomes of polar bears and brown bears reveals that the polar bear is a much younger species than previously believed, having diverged from brown bears less than 500,000 years ago. The analysis also uncovered several genes that may be involved in the polar bears’ extreme adaptations to life in the high Arctic. The species lives much of its life on sea ice, where it subsists on a blubber-rich diet of primarily marine mammals.

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