Arcticportal News
Successful journey of the Snow Dragon continues
Shipping News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 09:11

the-snow-dragon1 (Photo: Ingibjörg Jónsdóttir) The journey of the icebreaker Xue Long from Iceland to China, via the Arctic Ocean, has been successful so far. With the decreasing sea ice extent, the research ice-breaker has been able to sail through the Central Arctic Shipping Route without a support from nuclear powered vessel.


Due to such an ice conditions, the research ice-breaker was able to operate via Fram Strait and carry on a high Arctic region to the east.


Arctic sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometers on August 26, 2012. This was 70,000 square kilometers below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers.



geological-research1 (Photo: Ingibjörg Jónsdóttir) Geological research: Gravity core launched in the Iceland Sea.Oceanographic, biological, geological and geophysical research was carried out in the Iceland Sea and Greenland Sea on the route north and meteorological observations are maintained throughout the expedition.


Various satellite images are received for navigation through the sea ice.


Benthic samples, from the shore lines of Icelandic waters were taken in order to prove benthos great increase in region that extends away from the land mass.


Benthic sampling techniques are essential to habitat mapping studies since they provide the 'truth' data on the actual composition of the seafloor. When they are commonly used in conjunction with either a remote sensing or an acoustic technique, they are said to 'ground truth' seafloor classifications.


benthic-sample1 (Photo: Ingibjörg Jonssdóttir) Benthic sample from the Iceland Sea.If samples are collected in high enough densities over survey areas they can be used to establish distributions and define habitats.


Biological and geological/physical samples taken by the Geological Team from the Xue Long are to be taken separately from different grabs.


Sailing out from Iceland, the Snow Dragon reached the region east of Jan Mayen, where in the good weather it was possible to see the Beerenberg volcano.


It is the world's northernmost sub aerial active volcano. The volcano is topped by a mostly ice-filled crater about 1 km (0.6 mi) wide, with numerous peaks along its rim including the highest summit, Haakon VII Toppen, on its western side.


The upper slopes of the volcano were observed to be largely ice-covered, with several major glaciers including five which reach the sea.


beerenberg1 (Photo: Ingibjörg Jonssdóttir) Beerenberg volcano.

No scientific research was conducted by teams, nevertheless the elevation was difficult to be missed.


Currently the vessel is heading up North, aiming to cross the North Pole. The ice conditions were reported as being almost 3 meters thick. The Snow Dragon is partly being followed by the Norwegian coast guard.


Please, see the route of the Chinese research ice breaker on Interactive Mapping System.











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Akureyri 150 Years Old Today
Other News
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 11:40

ak150 smallerRegardless of the vast wilderness and large uninhabited areas of tundra, snow and ice, the Arctic has a long history of inhabitet communities within all eight Arctic states. One of them is Akureyri, the home of Arctic Portal and capital of northern Iceland, which today celebrates its 150th birthday. All 13 kindergartens and 10 primary schools of the town were invited to a feast at the town centre square, in which they participated in a sing-along, listened a local band Hvanndalsbræður and were served a birthday cake.


Akureyri-150-years smallestThroughout the year the town has organized a wide range of events celebrating the 150th birthday and among other things many projects have been initiated to exhibit the history of the town.







Nine vessels have sailed through NSR this summer
Shipping News
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 08:53

(Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images)With the continuous melt of Arctic sea ice, the Region might become all free of summer ice within a next decade.


Previous year which was marked as the longest sailing season for the Northern Sea Route, managed to handle 34 vessels. The total cargo transported, reached 820.000 tones.


So far the year of 2012 managed to handle only 9 vessels on the Northern Sea Route. However, if the sailing season extends, this year might become new record for the new transportation path between Asia, Northern part of Europe and North America.


Nuclear powered ice breakers have been escorting vessels in transit in convoys this summer as the ice level was extremely law. This situation was different from the one which occurred in 2011, when nuclear powered ice breakers had to follow one ship at the time in order to bring it through thick Arctic ice.


The first two vessels to sail through Northern Sea Route this summer were Russian ´Indiga´ and ´Varzuga´ which transported diesel fuel.


´Nordic Odyssey´ and ´Nordic Orion´ sailed from Murmansk in northern Russian to ports in China with close to 70.000 tons of iron ore concentrate.


The gas tankers ´Marilee´ and ´Palva´ both owned by Murmansk Shipping Company, each transported close to 60.000 tons of gas condensate to South Korea.


Also ´Vengeri´, the tugboat and the Chinese non – nuclear ice breaker ´Xuelong´ were escorted along the Northern Sea Route this summer while sailing to the northern hemisphere.


The scientists report that the situation on the Northern Sea Route meets the average standards. The path from Kara Gate to New Siberian Islands seems to be totally ice free, however the part of the way in East Siberian Sea, seems to be more difficult than recorded last year.


Currently the trip via Northern Sea Route takes 9 – 11 days on average speed of 12 knots.




Barents Observer


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{mosmap address='Murmansk, Russia'|zoom='2'|}

Arctic Sea Ice still on decrease
2012 Climate
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 08:42

(Photo: National Snow and Ice Data Center) Extent of the sea ice registered 26th of August 2012 (Photo: National Snow and Ice Data Center) Extent of the sea ice registered 26th of August 2012

Scientists from National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA hosted media teleconference yesterday, where the new record of the low ice extent was discussed.


Arctic sea ice extent registered yesterday reached the lowest level of ice registered since 2007. It felt down 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 cover melted to the lowest extent in the satellite record yesterday, breaking the previous record which was last observed in 2007.


Specialists predict that with the three weeks of the melting season left, the ice extent could drop even lower. The full analysis from the summer of 2012 will be released in October.



Growing Alaskan - Icelandic cooperation
2012 Other
Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Monday, 27 August 2012 11:10

(Photo: Arctic Portal) Olafur Ragnar Grimsson during the Summit (Photo: Arctic Portal) Olafur Ragnar Grimsson during the Summit Today, leaders from circumpolar states gather in Girdwood, Alaska for the Arctic Imperative Summit, one of this year´s biggest events, in order to discuss most prominent  Arctic issues, starting with indigenous matters to security development.


Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland, met with ministers and senior Alaskan officials, strengthening the cooperation between Iceland and Alaskan state government.


Scheduled flights to Iceland from northern part of United States, starting from next year, are considered to be a symbol of a new era in Icelandic – American tourism and transport.


Climate change is causing Alaska´s Arctic to change at unprecedented rate that will bring more shipping and development to the Far North. Declining sea ice means more viable and efficient shipping corridors. Development and increase in marine shipping will lead to parallel development of air traffic.


The 2012 Summit once again brings together the leading voices of the Arctic and residents of the small Alaskan villages and coastal communities.


The goal of this year´s Arctic Imperative Summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of the U.S Arctic by providing a forum for leaders from all Arctic – related disciplines to collaborate on solutions and to reach sustainable results.





The President´s of Iceland homepage



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