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Glaciers in Asia to expand
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Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:54

French scientists report that glaciers in the Karakoram Mountain Range in Asia are(Photo: Getty
Images)growing, not shrinking as previously suspected.

Karakoram Range is a great mountains system, extending close to 500 km from the eastern part of Afghanistan in a southeasterly direction along the watershed between Central and South Asia. The area was recognized as one with a great concentration of highest mountains in the world and the longest glaciers outside the high latitudes.

General research indicated that glaciers in the Himalayas were decreasing and in fact they could be gone before the year of 2035. However, the French suggested that ice sheet in Karakoram became thicker in the last few years, but the credible explanation for this statement could not be yet provided due to little knowledge about the glaciers in this region.

Nevertheless, it is the fact that the Himalaya's glaciers are the main source of water for over billion people who live in the region. The need for further research has been stressed by the French scientists.

Source: Morgunbladið
IPY 2012 - From Knowledge to Action
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Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:54

IPY2012-posterThe International Polar Year - IPY 2007-2008 will be wrapped up for the final time next week 22-27 April in Montréal in the "From Knowledge to Action - IPY 2012 Conference". The conference will bring together nearly 2300 participants in 4 plenary panels, 156 parallel sessions and 12 high-level action forums on Polar research  engaging Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy- and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples.

International Polar Year (IPY) is an international cooperative research initiative with an objective to provide scientific information about the fundamentals of meteorology and geophysics as well as further people's knowledge on the Polar Regions. 

The First International Polar Year was held between 1881-1883. Eleven nations took part in establishing fourteen principal research stations across the Polar Regions. Twelve research stations were located in the Arctic, along with at least 13 auxiliary stations, and two in the Antarctic. A vast amount of information was gathered between 1881 and 1884, but in the lack of a centralized coordination of analysis and publication of the results, no fundamental discoveries were made as a result of the first IPY. Each state published their observations independently and the International Polar Commission dissolved in the aftermath of the project.

The Second International Polar Year was both proposed and promoted by the International Meteorological Committee. The main objective of the second research initiative was to investigate the global implications of the newly discovered "Jet Stream" and to conduct magnetic, auroral and meteorological observations at a network of research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. Some 40 countries participated in the establishment of 40 permanent observation stations in both Arctic and Antarctic. Following, the data collected during the two-year period became the foundation of the International Meteorological Organization and promoted further research, such as the International Geophysical Year (IGY), 1957-1958, often called the third International Polar Year, which celebrated the 75th and 25th anniversaries of the First and Second IPYs.

ipylogosmallerThe latest International Polar Year 2007-2008, the one celebrated at the Montréal Conference, was organized through the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It was gigantic international multidisciplinary collaborative with around 10 000 scientists and 50 000 other participants from over 60 countries. Main objectives of this megaproject were to significantly increase the scientific knowledge and understanding of the polar areas, especially the wide-ranging and significant impacts of climate warming in the Arctic and Antarctic, and to conduct research projects beyond the resources of individual countries.

In addition, the Polar Year 2007-2008 aimed at educating a new generation of polar scientists and engineers and raise awareness of the public and policymakers of the importance of the polar areas for the entire planet. The disciplinary breadth of the third IPY far exceeded the previous Polar Years of 1882, 1932 and the 1957 IGY providing more comprehensive picture of the polar areas.

The "IPY 2012 - From Knowldege to Action" Conference  will contribute to the translation of new polar scientific findings into an evidence-based agenda for action that will influence global decisions, policies and outcomes over the coming years. To search the Conference program, please follow this link. To register to the event, please follow this link.

IPY-Joint-Committee-Summary-2011To learn more about the IPY 2007-2008, please page through the ICSU/WMO IPY Joint Committee summary "Understanding Earth's Polar Challenges: International Polar Year 2007-2008". The comprehensive, 720p. summary of IPY activities covers the development of IPY 2007–2008 for almost a decade, from 2001 till summer 2010 and demonstrates the extensive and essential contribution made by participating nations and organizations, and provides a prospective blueprint for future polar research.

Activities in Dreki in 2-3 years
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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 13 April 2012 11:53

Map of the Dreki area (Map by Arctic Portal)Map of the Dreki area (Map by Arctic Portal)Iceland is excited as the first hints of oil discovery have been confirmed in the Dreki area, north of Iceland. One aspect for local communities is the service for the station.

A service station would mean jobs for the people in the communities, many desperate for employment after the crisis in Iceland. Municipalities in the northern part of Iceland have been exploring the possibilities of a service station for some time.

Icelandic company ODR has been working with service suppliers Asco in the search for the best area.

The role of ODR is storing and distributing petroleum products for the owners and operation of specialized maintenance for service stations and own equipment.

Asco runs sixteen service stations in five continents.

They found out that three areas are most prominent, in Akureyri, Húsavík and Reyðarfjörður. Vopnafjörður and Þórshöfn are also in consideration. An intention letter has been signed with the first three municipalities.

The service station would also service oil search in eastern Greenland, as well as the Dreki area.

It is thought that the first activities in the area will be in 1-3 years, when an oil rig would be positioned in the area.

The two Asco representitives have also looked at the infrastructure in the communities. "All these places are under consideration," Hörður Gunnarsson from ODR said.

"It is also possible to service the search from Greenland, from other service stations in Iceland because of the distances and the infrastructure in Iceland," Runar Hatletvedt from Asco in North Europe said.

Hörður added: "It is important not to get ahead of yourself now and not over invest. But the possibilities are there," he said.

Runar said that "based on past experience that we might see the first activities in 1-3 years, probably 2-3 years. It is realistic."

Hörður noted that it could also take up to 10 years for some activities, but it is clear that Iceland has great interests in the area and monitors the activities very closely.

Illness caused by climate change?
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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 11:53

<img style="margin-left: 10px; float: right;" alt="Arctic ice (Photo: GettyImages)" src="images/stories/News_Files/126915435_Small.jpg" height="199" width="300" />Inuit communities in Canada are reporting more cases of illness attributed to pathogens that have washed into surface water and groundwater. This is the result of a new study.<br /><br />The reason is connected to heavier rainfall and faster snow melt due to climate change.<br /><br />The findings corroborate past research that suggests indigenous people worldwide are being disproportionately affected by climate change. This is because many of them live in regions where the effects are felt first and most strongly, and they might come into closer contact with the natural environment on a daily basis.<br /><br />For example, some indigenous communities lack access to treated water because they are far from urban areas.<br /><br />"In the north, a lot of [Inuit] communities prefer to drink brook water instead of treated tap water. It's just a preference," explained study lead author Sherilee Harper, a Vanier Canada graduate scholar in epidemiology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.<br /><br />"Also, when they're out on the land and hunting or fishing, they don't have access to tap water, so they drink brook water."<br /><br />In Rigolet, a small Inuit town studied by Harper’s team, the findings from the study have already led to changes in the community, said Charlotte Wolfrey, mayor of the town.<br /><br />“We’re asking people when they go to their cabin not to drink brook water and instead take water that has been chlorinated to eliminate bacteria,” Wolfrey said. “We also have posters around town reminding people that if they’re going to drink [untreated] water, they need to boil it first.”<br /><br data-mce-bogus="1" />
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New Arctic brigades in the making
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Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 11:52

Helicopter and a vessel in the Arctic ocean (Photo: GettyImages)Helicopter and a vessel in the Arctic ocean (Photo: GettyImages)Norway and Russia are strengthening their cooperation in the Arctic. The two states already have an extensive cooperation, but are strengthening with military relations and multi-branch exercises with common strategic and environment-based programs.

The countries recently held talks about the strengthening of political and military operations. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov and Norwegian Defense Minister Espen Barth Eide with Roger Ingebrigtsen, state secretary for defense, attended the meetings.

Both countries are reorganizing their naval, air and land forces in the strategic High North. Both countries are planning Arctic brigades, Russia in the Kola Peninsula and Norway in Skjold, in the High North's Troms county. The countries also discussed NATO's missile defense plan for Europe, which Russia is robustly opposed to.

"Our relations with Russia have never been better than they are now," Ingebrigtsen said. "We want to deepen the good relationship that we have even further. Among other things, we would like to hold more joint training exercises, both on land and at sea, probably in 2013."

The strengthened relationship, Antonov said, is reflected in the fact that the two militaries will participate in 24 joint exercises and events over the next 12 months. "The goal for both sides is increased security in the High North, which can only benefit our countries," Antonov said.

The annual naval exercise POMOR-2012, which takes place in May, will be the next major demonstration of stronger bilateral military collaboration between Norway and Russia. The exercise will involve Norwegian and Russian naval and air assets, including frigates, destroyers, helicopter support and combat aircraft.

The range of joint tasks will include boarding operations, search and rescue, air defense, navigation and interoperability of communication procedures and systems.

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