Arcticportal News
Shoigu (Russia): Arctic Infrastructure a Key Priority for the Army
Other News
Written by Federica   
Monday, 27 July 2015 09:43

Frunzenskaya embankment, Moscow, headquarter of the Russian Ground Force (Photo:, embankment, Moscow, headquarter of the Russian Ground Force (Photo:, wikipedia.orgOn Friday, July 24, a session of the Russian Defence Ministry took place in Moscow under the leadership of the Russian Defence Minister General of the Army Sergei Shoigu.The Board session was attended by the representatives of federal executive authorities and the leadership of the Armed Forces. 

After observing a minute of silence in tribute to the memory of the servicemen killed by the collapsing building of the Airborne training centre of Omsk, the Board focused on the "condition of the aerial hardware and measures taken for prevention of aviation accidents", and on the presence of the Russian Armed Forces in the Republics of Central Asia (to strengthen stability in the region and prevent drug trafficking, arms smuggling and terrorism). The session than suddendly focused on the Arctic. As reported by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation website:  "General of the Army Sergei Shoigu introduced for discussion the issue concerning rearmament of force grouping located in zones of the Arctic and Kuril Islands. He said the rearmament was carried out according to the schedule. 

By the end of 2015, the construction of military and social facilities located in zones of the Arctic and Kuril Islands would have been finished. Living and recreation conditions are being created for servicemen and their families. Modern houses, hospitals, cinemas and roads are being built.

The Minister put an emphasis on the issue concerning federal special-purpose programme.

General of the Army Sergei Shoigu reminded that realization of such programme provided opportunities to perform joint tasks concerning utilization of armament and military hardware, to construct the Black Sea Fleet base infrastructure and to raise control over Russian air area.

According to the Defence Minister, it is important to continue working on such directions as creating military infrastructure in the Arctic, development of the airfield net, implementation of advanced technologies in the field of logistics and others."


(Source: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation) 


The position of Iceland on the consultation on Arctic Fishing
Other News
Written by Federica   
Friday, 24 July 2015 10:56

Iceland FlagIceland FlagPRESS RELEASE

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has called the ambassadors of the United States of America, Denmark, Canada, Norway and the Russian Federation to a meeting in the ministry and made observations on the consultation of the five states on fishing in the Arctic Ocean, signed in Oslo last week.

The declaration of the five states is non-binding but Iceland believes it is important that all parties are on equal footing in order to ensure efficiency and strengthen the basis of collaboration on fishing in international waters, including the Arctic Ocean.

Climate change and the warming of the oceans mean that international waters in the Arctic may in the near future become accessible for fishing. The management and arrangement of such fisheries are of great concern for Iceland, which largely bases its earnings on marine resources. Iceland emphasises that its scientific knowledge and fishing experience can contribute significantly to consultations and discussions in this field.

It is important that all interested states take part in joint policy-making concerning the Arctic. Iceland was not invited to be party to the declaration, even though maritime affairs are highly important to Iceland and Iceland is among the world's leading fishing nations. Ever since the five states started their consultation without the participation of Iceland, with the Ilulissat declaration in 2008, the Icelandic authorities have regularly commented on Iceland being kept outside discussions on important affairs concerning the Arctic.

The position of the Icelandic authorities is based on the following:

  • Maritime affairs are tremendously important for Iceland and Iceland has placed great emphasis on regional collaboration on solid scientific basis. Iceland for example takes active part in the North-East Atlantic Fisheris commission (NEAFC), the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and is party to the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement which forms the legal framework for fishing in international waters, including the Arctic Ocean;
  • Iceland is among the world's leading fishing nations and none of the Arctic states is as dependent on fisheries as Iceland;
  • Iceland admits that the future exploitation of fish stocks in the Arctic is subject to uncertainty, but emphasises that Iceland's scientific knowledge and fishing experience can contribute significantly to consultations and discussions in this field;
  • Iceland regrets that although it has repeatedly asked to participate in the collaboration, the five states have decided to keep Iceland outside consultations and preparations on the declaration in question;
  • Participation in the discussions of the five states has, rightly, not been conditional on the states having exclusive economic zone to the Arctic Ocean as neither Norway nor the Faeroe Islands meet such conditions. Iceland has the same rights and duties to take part in all discussions on the future development on fishing in international waters in the Arctic Ocean and it is therefore completely inconsequent to exclude Iceland from participation;
  • The declaration by the five states is non-binding under international law and is not made under the auspices of or in the name of any international organisation or agreement. Iceland is therefore not bound by this declaration but believes it is necessary that all parties are on equal footing in order to ensure efficiency and strengthen the basis of collaboration on fishing in international waters, including the Arctic Ocean.

The Icelandic authorities will continue to emphasise the value of its knowledge and experience of fishing in the Arctic to future policy-making in the field and that Iceland is a recognised participant in the states' consultation on equal terms.


DISCLAIMER: The above press release has been published in its full length and has not been edited by Arctic Portal.

Source: Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Iceland

Arctic sea ice age from 1978 to 2015, a new animation by Arctic Portal now on YouTube!
Climate Change News
Written by Federica   
Thursday, 23 July 2015 11:07

Screen Shot from the AP animation on Arctic Sea Ice age from 1978 to 2015 Screen Shot from the AP animation on Arctic Sea Ice age from 1978 to 2015 It is now available on YouTube, the animation of maps of sea ice age classification from 1978 through mid-July 2015. The animation has been created by the Arctic Portal Team (, based on research data provided by Mark Tschudi, CCAR, University of Colorado (

In 1,30 minutes the animation shows the changes of the Arctic Ocean sea-ice coverage from 1978 to now (July 2015), with focus on sea-ice age. Sea-ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean has been constantly decreasing due to the effects of climate changes, drastically reducing the area of both the winter-ice and the summer-ice. As this animation suggests, the oldest -- and therefore the thickest-- layers of ice are the more affected by the effects of climate change. 

Sea ice being white has a much higher reflection than other earths surfaces, making it function as a giant mirror reflecting the suns radiation into space. This is reflectiveness is referred to as "albeido" It has been estimated that Sea Ice reflects as much as 50-95% of the suns radiation while an open ocean surface only reflects about 10-15%.

This reflection contributes significantly to keeping atmospheric temperatures cooler. Additionally this keeps the ocean in the northern hemisphere cooler, helping to maintain the planet's ocean conveyor system. With the rapid decline in Sea Ice, documented in recent years there is the risk of a cicle of warming as higher atmospheric temperatures contribute to loss of sea ice and further loss of sea ice contributes to more atmospheric warming, this effect is known as the "ice-albedo feedback".

The decline of the Sea ice is likely to have a wide number of impacts to both the world in general and of course specifically the Arctic. These impacts are likely to be both negative and positive.

Arctic sea ice cover melted to its lowest extent in the satellite record late in August 2012, breaking the previous record low observed in 2007. Sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) on August 26, 2012. This was 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles). 

Arctic sea ice extent for June 2015 was the third lowest in the satellite record. June snow cover for the Northern Hemisphere was the second lowest on record (NSIDC) 




Watch the animation on YouTube



Animation by Arctic Portal Team (, based on research data provided by Mark Tschudi, CCAR, University of Colorado (

Arctic Circle 2015: Alaska, Reykjavik and Singapore
Other News
Written by Federica   
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 09:31

Arctic Circle 2015 logo ( Circle 2015 logo ( third Arctic Circle Assembly will be held, as the previous years, in Reykjavik, on October 16-18, 2015. However, this year,for the first time, two additional events will be hosted, the first in Alaska (August 23-25, 2015) and the second in Singapore (November 12th, 2015), both under the umbrella of the Arctic Circle Assembly.

The Arctic Circle Forum in Alaska, August 23–25, 2015

The Arctic Circle in cooperation with Alaskan partners and authorities invites decision-makers, experts, business and political leaders and others for a forum on Arctic shipping and port development, August 23–25, 2015, at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Alaska.

The goal of the forum is to articulate plans and facilitate partnerships for developing safe, secure and reliable shipping through the Arctic, with a focus on the Bering Sea and other Arctic sea routes. At this stage of Arctic development, public- and private-sector cooperation will be essential to good outcomes. Similar partnerships in the past helped create the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Panama and Suez Canals. The meeting will lead to the establishment of an Arctic Circle task force on shipping.

The forum is being hosted by the State of Alaska and partners, including President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson of Iceland; Alice Rogoff, publisher of Alaska Dispatch News; and Mead Treadwell, president of Pt Capital and former Alaska lieutenant governor, in cooperation with Governor Bill Walker and legislative leaders.

Attendees will work toward the following goals:

  • Plans for safe and reliable global shipping practices that protect the hunting and fishing activities of our Arctic residents and our environment
  • Public, private and intergovernmental cooperation models to produce the necessary infrastructure investments to reach these goals
  • The establishment of a task force that will develop further partnerships necessary to offer global shippers a regular, safe, secure and reliable shipping system in the Arctic
  • Interested participants can establish contact and seek further information This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Arctic Circle Assembly, Reykjavik, October 16-18 2015

The Arctic Circle is designed to increase participation in Arctic dialogue and strengthen the international focus on the future of the Arctic. Participating organizations will maintain their full institutional independence, identity and decision-making abilities. To this end, the Arctic Circle aims to create opportunities for everyone to attend different meetings, conduct their own networking and engage in one-on-one informal discussions. Organizations will be able to decide their own agendas and convene their own meetings.

The Arctic Circle will organize sessions on a variety of issues, such as:

  • Sea ice melt and extreme weather
  • Polar law: treaties and agreements
  • The role and rights of indigenous peoples
  • Security in the ArcticShipping and transportation infrastructure
  • The prospects and risks of oil and gas drilling
  • Clean energy achievements and sustainable developmentArctic resources
  • Business cooperation in the Arctic
  • The role of Asian and European countries in the Arctic
  • Greenland in the new Arctic
  • Fisheries and ecosystem management
  • The science of ice: global research cooperationArctic tourism
  • The ice-dependent world: the Arctic and the Himalayas.
  • This year, over 90 breakout session proposals have been submitted.
  • For more information, click here
  • You can register now, click here

The Arctic Circle Forum in Singapore, November 12th, 2015

The Arctic Circle will, in addition to the annual October Assemblies in Iceland, convene smaller and more specialized forums in other countries. In cooperation with Singapore Maritime Institute and the Government of Singapore an Arctic Circle Forum will take place in Singapore on November 12th 2015.

An agenda will be published in the coming weeks. Those interested in attending can contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


For more information, click here



Deadline approaching: 1st Central European Polar Meeting, Vienna, Austria
Other News
Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 10:56

1st Central European Polar Meeting banner1st Central European Polar Meeting bannerThe 1st Central European Polar Meeting will be held from 10th to 13th November 2015, at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna. This meeting is a memorial to the Austrian polar explorer and scientist Julius Payer (1841-1915), to commemorate his achievements for the international polar sciences. It is jointly organized by the Committee on Polar Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Centre for Polar Ecology, Czech Republic, and the Austrian Polar Research Institute, in cooperation with the National Committee for Global Change of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
The 1st Central European Polar Meeting will bring together polar researchers including distinguished scientists and the next generation of polar researchers, from Central European countries and around the globe. This meeting is one of the first international activities of the newly established Central European Polar Partnership, which aims at increasing the visibility and coordinating polar research in and among the participating countries.

Scientific sessions and keynote speakers:

Climate Change and Impact on the Polar Cryosphere, Konrad Steffen (WSL, Switzerland)

Polar Ecology, Skip Walker (Alaska Geobotany Center, USA), Jakub Zarsky (University of Prague, Czech Republic)

Permafrost under Climate Change, Hugues Lantuit (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany)

History of Polar Research, Susan Barr (Directorate for Cultural Heritage and International Arctic Science Committee)

Arctic Social and Human Sciences, Gertrude Saxinger (Austrian Polar Research Institute, Austria), Michal Luszczuk (Maria Curie Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland)

Submission of abstracts is open until 3 August 2015; while the deadline for early bird registration is September 2015.

For more information, please click here. 





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