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Greenland ice sheet slowed down
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Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 09:23

(Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images) The most recent research shows that the thaw of the Greenlandic ice cap is being slowed down by a subglacial plumbing system.

The research has been presented by Ph.D Ginny Catania, associate professor from the Department of Geological Sciences of Jackson School of Geosciences.


The researcher explains that underground plumbing system is made up of meltwater that falls from the surface of the sheet into moulins – natural pipes that run for over half a mile from the overlying ice to the bedrock. When the water level in the Moulin is higher, the ice sheet slides faster. In the past few decades there has been much greater summer surface melting.


The researchers found, though, that while a greater volume of meltwater in the moulins causes the ice sheet to move more quickly, the ice becomes less sensitive to the melting water during the warmer summer months. The scientists believe that this could be down to the subglacial plumbing system, which allows it to adapt to the higher amount of meltwater.


Dr. Catania's research involves understanding ice sheet and glacier changes both from natural variability and climate forced variability. This involves improving the observational data sets that quantify cyrosphere change but also focusing on improved understanding of the dynamical processes that control ice flow. In particular, her research focuses on basal processes, the flow of water on top of, through and beneath ice and understanding the history of ice motion so that modern ice sheet changes can be put into context.


The main research tools used by Catania's research group include ice-penetrating radar to image internal layers in the ice and quantify the properties of the basal interface; simple kinematic models to interpret internal layer stratigraphy; GPS to measure changes in ice motion; borehole observations to directly sense the englacial and subglacial environment; remote sensing of ice sheet changes and physical models to reproduce ice dynamical processes in the laboratory.

PCECLM 2015 announced
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Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:20

(Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images) The second international Polar Climate and Environmental Change in the Last Millennium will take place in Torun, Poland 24 – 26 of August 2015.


The aim of the conference is to present scientific achievements, detect gaps in the field of the historical climatology of the area of Polar Regions based on early meteorological observations, history, dendroclimatology, paleolimnology, geophysics, geomorphology and other sources.


Conference topics include:


• Sources of paleoclimate information;
• Research methods of climatic changes in historical times;
• The climate of the area of polar regions in the last millennium and its changeability;
• Causes and effects of climate change in historical times


Click here for more information about the conference.

PCBs to decline in the Arctic
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Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Friday, 10 October 2014 09:41

(Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images) Since the Stockholm Convention came into effect in 2004, banning persistent organic pollutants, the concentration of these pollutants has declined by up to 90%.

The research, conductuded by Ph.D student Heli Routti, shows that a decade old ban on a class of toxic chemicals is paying off in the Arctic. The scientist managed to prove that the levels of toxic chemicals are declining because of the ban.

In the late 90s, the United Nations Environmental Programme sounded the alarm over Persistent Organic Pollutants, or POPs. These are harmful compounds that persist in the environment and accumulate in plants and animals. Until 2004, when the Stockholm Convention came into effect, they were produced all over the world in industrial processes, and ended up concentrated in the fat cells of marine mammals among many other species.

The research was conducted on seals because as a top marine predator they concentrate pollutants from animals lower in the food chain. Routti's team caught 12 seals on the High Arctic island of Prins Karls Forland, and took samples their blubber, blood and teeth.

Heli Routti is a research scientist at the FRAM Centre of Norwegian Polar institute.


Her research focuses on contaminant levels and effects in Arctic mammals, seals, Arctic foxes and polar bears.


She is interested about how ecological and climate-driven factors affect time- and geographical trends of contaminants. On contaminant effect side, she is particularly interested on integrating different research fields including physiology, ecology, molecular biology and chemistry to understand how multiple stressors (contaminants and changing climate) affect Arctic animals.



Sweden to recognize state of Palestine
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Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Thursday, 09 October 2014 10:29

(Photo: Reuters/laudio Bresciani) Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. (Photo: Reuters/laudio Bresciani) Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.Sweden is the first of the eight Arctic states and long members of European Union to officially recognize the state of Palestine.

In addressing the Riksdag, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that the conflict between Palestine and Israel can be solved only with a two-state solution. He added that they must negotiate "in accordance with international law".

In September, Sweden voted out Fredrik Reinfeldt's Alliance coalition after eight years in power, allowing Löfven's Social Democrats to form a new government with other left-wing parties such as the Greens.

Löfven said that a two-state solution must have mutual recognition which could lead to a peaceful co-existence. He added, without saying when Sweden's official recognition would start, that his country will recognize Palestine as a state.

Sweden will now join over 130 nations who recognize the state of Palestine. The majority of the 28 member states of the EU, however, have so far refused to recognize the state of Palestine while the ones that have – Slovakia, Poland and Hungary – did so prior to becoming EU members.

The Palestinians have been fighting for independence in the West Bank and its capital East Jerusalem for many years as well as in the Gaza Strip.

Analysts claim Sweden will face criticism from the US and Israel, who insist only negotiations could lead to an independent Palestine state.


Source: IceNews
Arctic Futures Symposium: Last Call
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Written by Magdalena Tomasik   
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 00:00

(Photo: Arctic Futures Symposium 2014) (Photo: Arctic Futures Symposium 2014) The annual Arctic Futures Symposium will take place in Brussels, Belgium at the Residence Palace conference centre in European District of the city. The conference will take place on Tuesday 14th of October and Wednesday, 15th of October.

This year's symposium will have as an overarching theme "The Arctic, its peoples, and its economies".


As an annual conference on Arctic issues held in Brussels for the benefit of the European Institutions as the EU continues to develop its policy on the Arctic, the Arctic Futures Symposium features dozens of Arctic experts and stakeholders, including several Senior Arctic Officials and other key policymakers from Arctic states and the European Union, representatives from indigenous communities across the Arctic, scientists and academics, and representatives from industries operating in the Arctic.


The morning of Tuesday 14 October will feature opening speeches from high-level speakers. Dr. Olav Orheim, Chair of GRID-Arendal, will then lead a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Arctic Council nations, their territories, and the European External Action Service. In the afternoon, sessions on maritime safety in the Arctic and scientific research to inform policymakers will be held.


The morning of Wednesday 15 October will begin with a roundtable discussion between members of Arctic indigenous communities and Members of the European Parliament. The remaining sessions of the day will focus on the economies of different regions of the Arctic.

The symposium will close with a keynote speech by Vice-President of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) climatologist, Professor Jean-Pascale van Ypersele.


Information about confirmed speakers and draft program are available at the conference website.

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