Arcticportal News
Joint Arctic defense strategy?
Other News
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 09:06

Sweden and Finland are looking for military cooperation, picture not related. (Photo: GettyImages) Sweden and Finland are looking for military cooperation, picture not related. (Photo: GettyImages)Two Arctic states might join military forces in the Arctic. Sweden and Finland have held talks about a joint weaponary and it is a central part of Sweden’s vision for Nordic Defence cooperation. Sweden is looking for a joint Nordic policy in foreign affairs, secutiry and defense strategy.

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Defense Minister Karin Enstrom have written the proposal.

“We want to create a more efficient use of resources, higher quality, better effects and an expanded variety of defence capabilities through cooperation”, the two ministers write, according to the BarentsObserver.

“Joint ownership and use of military capacities and resources, so-called pooling and sharing, is a central part of the Swedish vision for Nordic defence cooperation”, they underline.

The Finnish side positively responds to the Swedish proposal. Defence Minister Carl Haglund says to Yle that the possible conclusion of a treaty with Sweden is worth thorough examination, but believes that such an agreement can come only after “several years”.

“Indeed, in practice this would mean that we should have some kind of defense agreement with Sweden, because we would be talking about crucial capabilities, for example in the navy or the air force," Haglund says.

At the same time, the Finns are reluctant to get Norway on board. Haglund underlines that “in any case, Nordic NATO member countries should not be included in this cooperation”.



{mosmap address='Stockholm, Sweden'|zoom='3'|}

Trapped whales now free
Climate Change News
Thursday, 10 January 2013 09:12

The whales need assistance as the gap they breathe through is shrinking (Photo: CBC) The whales need assistance as the gap they breathe through is shrinking (Photo: CBC)

The whales who were trapped in sea ice in Hudson Bay, Canada, are now free. The ice shifted away and the whales are free and safe after being trapped for two days.

In our original story yesterday we reported that the town asked for an icebreaker to assist the whales. There was only a small patch of open water for the whales to breathe, and the gap was shrinking.

Video of the whales can be seen here. 

A hunter spotted the whales and now the government is looking at its options. Peter Inukpuk, mayor of the small Inuit village, called on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to send out an icebreaker to help the whales.



{mosmap address='Hudson Bay, Quebec'|zoom='3'|}

Cold winter conditions in the Arctic
Climate Change News
Thursday, 10 January 2013 08:54

Climate conditions have been negative (Photo: GettyImages) Climate conditions have been negative (Photo: GettyImages)States for 2012 was climate conditions in Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska and Canada have been colder than average this winter.


The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that the Arctic sea ice extent for December 2012 was well below average, driven by anomalously low ice conditions in the Kara, Barents, and Labrador seas.

NSIDC states that the winter has been dominated by the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, bringing the cold climate around the Arctic.

The Arctic Oscillation is an Arctic climate index with positive and negative phases, which represents the state of atmospheric circulation over the Arctic. The positive phase brings lower-than-normal pressure over the polar region, steering ocean storms northward, bringing wetter weather to Scotland and Scandinavia, and drier conditions to areas such as Spain and the Middle East.

Reports today also show that the average temperature for USA for 2012 was above average, showing different climate than in the Arctic, outside of Alaska.



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Winter tourists spend more
Other News
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 11:08

The aurora are a popular Arctic attraction (Photo: GettyImages) The aurora are a popular Arctic attraction (Photo: GettyImages)Winter tourists spend three times more money than summer tourists, a tour operator in Norway says. The Arctic countries all have active tourism and are constantly marketing winter tourism as an alternative for the summer period.

"Hotels in Northern Norway now have a higher number of filled beds in winter time than in summer. That is because the region offers what few other destinations can; a mix of winter and ocean. Only the Barents region, Alaska and Iceland are competing for tourists looking for experiences like these", says Morten Torp from Vinter Troms AS.

Iceland has seen a big increase in winter tourism with specialized northern lights trips increasingly popular.

In Norway, Espen Berelsen sees that tourist are willing to pay a higher premium for experiences out of the ordinary. An example Bertelsen often uses; "Who wouldn't want to come home to their friends and family and tell about the great combination of beautiful sailings along the coast of Lofoten and skiing down the Lyngen Alps toward the clean Arctic fjords? People will pay a premium for an experience like that."

Alaska has also utilized its oil history for tourism as well as the ice road truckers. Alaska offers northern lights experiences like Iceland and Norway.



{mosmap address='Tromso, Norway'|zoom='2'|}

Arctic brings cold weather to China
Climate Change News
Tuesday, 08 January 2013 08:53

A man works in a frozen river in Taiyuan, Shanxi province on January 5th. (Photo/Xinhua) A man works in a frozen river in Taiyuan, Shanxi province on January 5th. (Photo/Xinhua)The year 2012 was unusually cold in China, which may be a result of the record loss of Arctic sea ice. "Observation and data analysis showed that Arctic sea ice loss may cause cold and snowy winters in parts of Asia," Chen Yu, senior engineer of the National Climate Center in China states.

The Arctic sea ice saw it record low extent on September 16th 2012.

The China Daily reports and Chen explains that when sea ice melts in the Arctic, the water temperature increases. When that happens, the air becomes moister and is more likely to form cold fronts.

According to the China Meteorological Administration, in December most of China suffered colder weather than usual. On Dec 24, frequent cold fronts led to temperatures in 21 monitoring stations hitting record lows.

And the cold weather continued and the weather has been cold since late December.

Kang Zhiming, weather forecaster of the National Meteorological Center, said weather models showed the temperature will not rise until late January.

"The weather authorities will keep a close eye on any changes in the weather, especially before Spring Festival, in order to give timely information to transport and related departments, particularly in the event of extreme weather," Kang said.

China has a research station in Ny Alesund, on Svalbard, and among other projects is monitoring weather and sea ice from the station.



{mosmap address='Beijing, China'|zoom='5'|}

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