Search Results for Tag: Greenpeace
Heading for Arctic Spitsbergen
(c) Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace
This is the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza, which is already steaming up to the Arctic, carrying special equipment from the IFM Geomar, Kiel University, which I’ll talk more about later when I get a chance to see it for myself and interview the experts on exactly what it will help them find out and how.
As I write this, I am still in Germany, packing my cold-weather gear and reporting equipment, getting ready to fly up to Longyearbjen on Svalbard, then on to Ny Alesund, where I will join the Esperanza and her crew for a few days.
This is Greenpeace scientist Dr. Iris Menn.
(Photo by Daniel Mueller/Greenpeace.) She is one of the key figures in this whole enterprise. She\’s also packing right now, as well as preparing the expedition, and will be joining the boat up at Ny Alesund later. It takes a while for the boat to sail up to the Arctic, so not everyone is able to travel this more leisurely way.
The Greenpeace boat is spending the summer up there and ‘ll be joining them and the team from the IFM-Geomar, that’s the Institute for Marine Sciences at Germany’s Kiel University, for the first part of the expedition. As mentioned in a previous entry and described in our DW article, (link provided last time), the team will be looking at how acidification affects the Arctic ocean ecosystems and biodiversity there. And if you ever catch yourself out thinking there can”t be much life in that dark cold water down there, maybe these pics will change your mind.
They show a type of algae and a type of sea anemone. Beautiful? I got them from Max Schwanitz, who’s in charge of the scientific diving team with the Alfred Wegener Institute and is actually now back up at Ny Alesund getting ready for the season. He took these in the Kongsfjord, which is where I’ll be heading very soon.
The acidity of the oceans is increasing because the greenhouse gas CO2 not only warms up the planet but also leads to greater acidification of the oceans. The oceans soak up CO2. In fact they have absorbed about a third of the CO2 roduced by us humans since the Industrial Revolution. The CO2 is converted into carbonic acid in the water. This makes the water more acidic. This affects the polar areas worse than others, because more CO2 is absorbed in cold temperatures.
There hasn’t been too much research into exactly what effects this has on marine ecosystems. Scientists suspect it will have a massive effect on biodiversity, and that’s what the team from Greenpeace and Kiel will be looking into. More soon.
DateMay 24, 2010 | 3:47 pm
This year’s ice-blog destination is the Svalbard archipelago at 79° North, a focal point of the world’s Arctic research. Spitsbergen is the largest of the Svalbard islands, which are governed by Norway. Just 1200 km from the North Pole, scientists from all over the world monitor what’s happening to our climate and how changes affect ecosystems at the research station of Ny Alesund. This is also the spot where Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen started the first airship flight over the North Pole in 1926.
I took these pictures during a visit in 2007.
Once the site of a coal mine, around 30 scientists and crew now live in Ny Alesund through the dark, Arctic winter, in the world’s most northerly permanent settlement. When the snow starts to melt in spring and life awakes, biologists and glaciologists migrate to Svalbard to carry out their field research.
Amongst them this year is a team from the IFM GEOMAR, the Leibniz Insitute for Marine Sciences of Germany’s Kiel University, headed by Professor Ulf Riebesell. For the first time, they are cooperating with Greenpeace. The Greenpeace team is headed by Dr. Iris Menn and Martin Kaiser. The organisation’s ship the “Esperanza” is transporting the scientists and their special equipment to monitor the effect of ocean acidification on the Arctic ocean ecosystems off the coast of Spitsbergen.
Expedition prepares to depart – report by Chiponda Chimbelu
DateMay 18, 2010 | 3:28 pm
The Arctic headlines that weren’t?
Although I’m a journalist myself I still often find myself wondering why some things make it into the headlines with some media and others don’t. Sometimes you hear something in the news in the morning that disappears very rapidly. And sometimes, especially if you’re interested in and concerned about climate change, you read and hear things that shock or worry you then, again, don’t make it into any other media.
I have a couple of examples here. The first I can find an explanation for, although I don’t find it justified and hope the situation will change in the next few weeks.
Scientists from one of Germany’s most renowned scientific institutes, the Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences at Kiel University, set off on an Arctic expedition today.They’ve joined forces with Greenpeace. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is transporting some giant “test-tubes” up to the Svalbard archipelago, where they’ll be lowered into the water to look into the effects of climate change on the marine ecosystems. The scientists are particularly interested in the acidification of the oceans. I’ll be writing more about this later – in fact I’ll be catching up with the team and finding out more first-hand. But the reason I’m mentioning it today is that when I searched the news agencies, I didn’t find anything in English about this venture, although it’s using new, unique technology, and we know how susceptible the Arctic is to climate change – and what a key role it plays in regulating the world’s climate. I assume the reason is the ship left from the German port of Kiel, so only attracted German media. But come on folks, this is not a German story, the implications are as global as you can get.
I wasn’t able to go up to Kiel for the launch, but one of my colleagues went, so I’ll have more on that soon.
The other story which is even more worrying is one I came across in the online version of the German news magazine Focus
It’s headlined (in German)”Melting poles: No Ice, No Summer”.
The article reports on a story in the magazine Science which warns of the dangerous effects of melting ice in the Arctic and Antarctic on the deep ocean currents which help regulate the climate. In a highly over-simplified nutshell, it seems possible that at some point in the future, melting fresh water from the glaciers could reduce the salinity of the sea-water to the extent where the pump effect of dense salt water sinking into the depths would be hampered. This could interrupt the flow of warmer water which helps keep the climate of the British isles, southern Scandinavian and part of northern Germany mild.
Now why am I finding it difficult to get any more information on this from other media?
DateMay 14, 2010 | 1:25 pm
Who needs the Arctic Coal Mine?
How’s this for a bizarre story to end the week:
Greenpeace has been protesting on Svalbard, Spitsbergen, which belongs to Norway, drawing attention to the fact that coal is still being mined there and fired – amongst other places – in German power stations!
60% of the island is still covered with glaciers – and they’re melting at a record rate. The whole Arctic, as we know, is being affected much worse and faster than the rest of the planet by climate change.
The Greenpeace protesters are targeting the German government and public in particular, given that a big German company is one of the ones using the coal. Their poltical point is also that Germany is still planning to build new coal-fired plants, in spite of the impact they will have on the climate. Greenpeace is calling on Chancellor Angela Merkel – re-elected just last weekend – to re-think the coal policy and put more of an effort into combatting climate change.
There are probably very few people who know there’s still coal being mined on Spitsbergen. Well, let’s see whether this gets onto German tv news this evening. “A hae’ ma doots”, as they say in Scotland (Translation: I have my doubts). Top marks for trying, though, it takes considerable effort to get up to Spitzbergen to mount a protest.
Greenpeace blogger from the Svalbard protest
World leaders block Arctic coal shipment??
DateOctober 2, 2009 | 2:19 pm
Fuelling the Melt of the Arctic?
The Arctic made its way into the headlines again at the end of last week, when the five Arctic coastal nations met in Greenland to discuss sovereignty over the Arctic seabed.
Denmark, Norway, Russia, Canada and the United States are the countries concerned. Wouldn’t it be great if they were negotiating on who could do the most to protect this unique and fragile area? Of course what they are actually concerned about is who will have access to natural resources – for instance the right to drill for oil once the seabed becomes more easily accessible because global warming is melting the ice.
(The airport at Alaska’s oil centre, Prudhoe Bay).
The environmental groups were not invited to the meeting. As you might expect, most of them are concerned about the rush to exploit the Arctic further as soon as possible. One suggestion is to have a treaty similar to that regulating the Antarctic, which bans military activity and mineral mining, but this was rejected by the “Arctic 5”. Greenpeace Nordic campaigner Lindsay Keenan put the bizarre situation in a nutshell when he told Reuters “they are going to use the law of the sea to carve up the raw materials, but they are ignoring the law of common sense. These are the same fossil fuels that are driving climate change in the first place”. Good point Mr. Keenan. Greenpeace points out that the world already has four times more fossil fuel reserves than it can afford to burn.
DateJune 4, 2008 | 11:08 am