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Climate Change in the Arctic & around the globe

Oil from the Arctic: to drill or not to drill…

 

Charles Emmerson listening to the presentation by Robert J. Blaauw, senior Arctic Adviser with Shell.

Charles Emmerson listening to the presentation by Robert J. Blaauw, senior Arctic Adviser with Shell.

Is not such an easy question to answer, Charles Emmerson from the British think-tank Chatham House told the Arctic Futures conference hosted by the International Polar Foundation and the EU committee of the regions in Brussels. In a session on the future of energy resources in the Arctic, he said it depends on various factors, including geographical location, economic costs and geo-political aspects. Emmerson was co-author of a study Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North  for Chatham House and Lloyds.

Date

October 9, 2012 | 9:54 am

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Arctic Futures up for Debate

Arctic palm trees

Arctic landscape with palm fronds?

 

I am in Brussels at the moment for a symposium being held by the International Polar Foundation looking at future scenarios for the Arctic. It has been an interesting day with representatives from the Arctic countries giving their perspectives on Arctic change and what consequences it is likely to have. With the future of energy resources as one of the key topics, it is hardly surprising that Greenpeace were demonstrating outside the conference venue this morning, drawing attention to their campaign to save the Arctic from oil drilling.

Date

October 4, 2012 | 8:22 pm

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Warming oceans mean smaller fish

 

Warming oceans could have a negative impact on fish numbers

Warming oceans could have a negative impact on fish numbers

Scientists at the University of British Columbia have just published a report in the journal Nature Climate Change indicating that fish will get smaller as climate change warms the oceans and reduces the oxygen available to fish in the water.

The scientists used computer models to come up with global projections. They have come to the conclusion that the maximum body weight of fish could go down by 14 to 20% between 2000 and 2050. The tropics would probably be the regions affected most.

The researchers were surprised at the large decrease the models are predicting. They think we may still be lacking some interesting “piece in the puzzle of understanding climate change effects in the ocean”, says lead author William Cheung from the UBC Fisheries Centre.

It seems likely that it would be harder for bigger fish to get enough oxygen in the water, so they would stop growing earlier. Clearly, this would have big impacts on food security. Fishy food for thought as international action still falls drastically short of what we’d need to limit warming to 2°C.

 

Date

October 2, 2012 | 9:14 am

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“Svalbard bears on the move”

 

Polar bear, courtesy of WWF

Polar bear, courtesy of WWF

 

I found the latest online edition of WWF Arctic‘s newsletter The Arc in my in-box today. For a Friday afternoon or weekend pastime, I would recommend a look. I was particularly interested in the item about polar bears on Svalbard, following the sea ice or locating a dead whale.  Having been on the Arctic island a few times it holds a special interest for me. And the chance to track polar bears moving around is absolutely fascinating. The bear tracker site does just that. There’s also a video of how researchers on the ground work with the bears. Can you imagine putting your hand between the jaws of a giant white bear? 😉

Date

September 28, 2012 | 1:00 pm

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Arctic ice melt: worst fears confirmed

Arctic sea ice decline, courtest of National Snow and Ice Data Center

Well, the scientists have been predicting it for a good few weeks now. The Arctic ice has finally reached its lowest extent since satellite records began in 1979. And it could still decrease further as changing winds push ice floes together, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre ISIDC. The final figures will only come in October, but the long-term downward trend in Arctic ice extent is reinforced, according to NSIDC. The ice is now 45% less than it once was.

Date

September 20, 2012 | 9:00 am

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