The Arctic is a relentless and harsh wilderness and travelling in this region requires a lot of skill, equipment and knowledge. But even the most skillful hunters and Arctic residents might come into a situation, in which the difference between life and death depends on sheer luck. Three hunters from Hall Beach, Nunavut, just experienced such a situation and were rescued only by chance by Canadian military forces.
Unless the world stops burning fossil fuels that are fuelling global warming, irreversible changes in the Arctic could have disastrous effects for the people that live there and for the rest of the planet, researchers warned in a five-year study. The Arctic's ecosystems are fundamentally threatened by climate change and other human activities, such as oil and gas extraction, they said in a report for the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum working to protect the region's environment.
A French North Pole expedition was terminated prematurely by the Governor of Spitzbergen in Duvefjord near Nordaustland. The adventurers Gilles and Alexia Elkaim had planned to freeze their yacht Arktika into the ice and drift to the North Pole following in the footsteps of Fridtjof Nansen.
Energy for communities in the Canadian High Arctic always is relying on external supplies mostly by ship. Despite less ice along the eastern coast and the early opening of the Northwest Passage which makes it easier for supply ships to reach the remote communities in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, it still is a difficult and especially costly affair. Ironically, as the communities will receive oil and diesel for energy production, they add to the climate change by burning fossil fuels. Clyde River will now go a different way.
Like a ship moving through pack ice at the top of the world, the task of securing funding for a new U.S. icebreaker has been arduous, lonely and at times maddeningly slow. Sometimes, it’s only by looking backward that progress can be measured, by seeing the obstacles that came before in a trail behind you. This week, Alaska’s congressional delegation got to see a big piece of ice crack and move aside, as Sen. Lisa Murkowski secured an amendment to a Homeland Security and defense spending bill that would direct $1 billion for the construction of a heavy icebreaker to augment America’s meager fleet of polar ships.
The number of cruise ships visiting the Arctic has seen a sharp increase over the last few years. More and more vessels make their way into the Arctic to experience the magic of the North. This, however, also increases the possibilities of accidents as not all vessels are suitable to navigate the Arctic Ocean. Thus, the AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators) organized a meeting with Search & Rescue Service providers in Reykjavik in April to discuss possible solutions.
Reaching the North Pole still is a challenge due to its location in the middle of the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean. To get there, many travelers are using the Russian Camp Barneo, a drift station that has been set up annually for 15 years. Usually, passengers and materials would be flown in via Longyearbyen to the camp. This season, the Russian crew experienced a lot of troubles, both in terms of ice as well as politically. Now the camp organizers decided to change the flight itinerary and plan to use Franz-Josef-Land in the future.
The largest oil platform in the world, named Goliat, has finally stated to drill for oil in the northernmost offshore oil field. Expectations are high and so are the costs that have accumulated so far due to a two year delay. Despite the good news of the start, troubles are not over yet. Platform operator ENI has been sued by environmentalists over its Arctic drilling plans.
After only 1.5 years closed, the fly route between Northern Norway to Norther Russia might get a chance to be re-opened again. FlyViking is a newly established airliner that plans to connect northern Norwegian cities with Murmansk in Russia.