Search Results for Tag: Arctic
Tromsö in the pink
I have arrived in Tromso after one of the most beautiful flights I can remember.
Oslo was dull and greyish, albeit with loads of snow. As we got further north, the skies got clearer and the pilot told us we could expect “perfect” weather conditions, clear skies, just a little scattered cloud. He war right. We were coming in just after midday, so getting the “pink light” hours, before the winter afternoon blackness. Some impressions from the plane window:
On the plane earlier, I had been reading a book called “Climate Code Red” – the case for emergency action, by David Spratt and Philip Sutton. The authors are convinced we need emergency action to REDUCE the temperature of the planet, not just reduce the amount by which we’re increasing it.
Chapter 1 is called “Losing the Arctic Sea Ice”. It is perfect reading material in the run-up to the “Arctic Frontiers” conference. More about the book later. As I looked out of the window, I couldn’t help thinking the beauty of the region itself should make enough of a case for saving it.
Last night I visited some friends with children who are doing a project on the Arctic in primary school. I was delighted at their interest – and at how much they were aware of climate change and, for instance, the problems it causes for polar bears. They looked up Tromsö on their map and their globe. I hope they’ll see these pictures too at some stage.
This is the approach to Tromsö:
From a different angle, the picture is almost black and white:
By the time I went out for a walk it was dark. Tromsö is reasonably busy, as an international film festival has just come to an end – and of course the conference starts tonight. I’m hoping to see some “northern lights” tonight, although it could be too bright here in the town.
Meanwhile, I enjoyed the man-made kind: (The triangle is the famous “Arctic Cathedral”).
The buildings on the wharf also looked very different from last time I saw them in summer, when it was still light when I went to bed..
And I’ve called this one “deflated”. You wouldn’t want to depend on this one to abandon ship at the moment:
DateJanuary 18, 2009 | 4:16 pm
The Age of the Arctic?
The Ice-Blog will be coming to you from Tromsö in Norway from Sunday onwards.
I’m looking forward to the “Arctic Frontiers” conference, entitled “The Age of the Arctic”.
Arctic Frontiers conference website
It will be interesting to hear how the states with Arctic territory and the EU see the future of the region – and how they plan to safeguard the environment while at the same time trying to lay claim to the natural resources they’d like to access.
It seems there are influential people who think climate change is nothing more than a great opportunity to open up oil and gas reserves previously inaccessible.
US President Bush made a point of presenting a new Arctic Strategy (15 years since the last US one)in his last few days in office, stressing the country’s intention of securing greater influence. Critics say it’s based too strongly on military and economic interests. And the USA is not alone there.
Let’s hear what the parties have to say in Tromsö in the coming week.
DateJanuary 16, 2009 | 3:28 pm
From the horse’s/ scientist’s / environmentalist’s mouth
Mark Mattox has also been following this saga closely and conducted interviews both with the AWI and the ETC for this week’s edition of Living Planet, now available online.
Interview with Ulrich Bathmann, AWI
Interviw with Jim Thomas of the ETC
DateJanuary 15, 2009 | 8:09 am
Tagsalgae, Arctic, AWI, Biodiversity, geoengineering, India, Lohafex, ocean, Polarstern
German Ministries responding!!
AWI insists it has looked into potential effects on the environment and biodiversity.
But the German Environment Ministry is quoted in a German newspaper and news agencies as having expressed concern that Germany’s credibility as a leading power in the protection of biodiversity could be undermined by this experiment.
Yes indeed, Minister Gabriel.
One just wonders how this could get this far, with the ship already steaming ahead to the Antartic, without the concerns of environment groups and the Convention on Biodiversity issue being adequately addressed.
The Research Ministry (which provides a considerable amount of funding to the AWI), is now having the project examined by 2 independent scientific bodies.
Let’s see what happens next.
The official “Lohafex” position on the project and the controversy
DateJanuary 14, 2009 | 9:52 am
Tagsalgae, Arctic, AWI, Biodiversity, geoengineering, Germany, India, Lohafex, ocean
Are we taking too big a risk?
A few more facts about the iron fertilization idea. Why am I talking about this now? It’s not new, but the increasing concern about the urgency of combatting climate change and the fact that this large-scale experiment is underway in nature, with as yet unresearched possible consequences, make this a good time to take a closer look.
First a bit more background:
Scientists believe “fertilizing” the ocean surface with trace amounts of iron will lead to blooms of phytoplankton, which soak up carbon dioxide in the marine plants. When the phytoplankton die, they sink to the depths of the ocean, with the carbon safely “locked” inside their cells, potentially storing it for decades or centuries in sediments on the ocean floor.
The trouble is we don’t know exactly how much carbon can be captured and stored this way, for how long, or, more crucially, what it means for the ecosystems of the ocean. This is being referred to as “geo-engineering” and sometimes seems to be taking us into the realms of science fiction stories. What does it mean for the species in the ocean, ocean acidity or the level of oxygen in the water?
Some scientists even fear it could lead to the release of nitrous oxide, another powerful greenhouse gas.
Interest in ocean fertilization is not driven by purely scientific or altruistic considerations. There is a commercial interest. Private companies have been working on the idea, because carbon credits can be sold.
It’s interesting that there is not a lot of big media coverage of it. The British Mail on Sunday did have a full page on it earlier this month. It outlines the questions – how much algae will sink to the bottom of the ocean, “safely” trapping Co2, and how long will it stay there? It also draws attention to the findings of a British scientist team that tiny particles of iron are released naturally into the sea, in the Southern Ocean, when icebergs melt. This proof that iron is occurring naturally in the region is, according to the paper, what led to the UN giving permission to move ahead with the experiment.
“Will green algae save the world from global warming?”
Nevertheless, the planned experiment is relatively large in scale and expected to produce a green algae bloom visible from space. Sceptical scientists say the negative effects may not become obvious until it’s too late to do anything about it.
More background on the Treehugger website
DateJanuary 13, 2009 | 9:47 am
Tagsalgae, Arctic, AWI, Biodiversity, Carbon, Climate, geoengineering, India, ocean, Treehugger