TRANSIT OF NW PASSAGE TO END OF 2014
The earliest traverse of the Northwest Passage was completed in 1853 but used sledges over the sea ice of the central part of Parry Channel. Subsequently the following 220 complete maritime transits of the Northwest Passage have been made to the end of the 2014 navigation season before winter began and the passage froze. These transits proceed to or from the Atlantic Ocean (Labrador Sea) in or out of the eastern approaches to the Canadian Arctic archipelago (Lancaster Sound or Foxe Basin) then the western approaches (McClure Strait or Amundsen Gulf), across the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea of the Arctic Ocean, from or to the Pacific Ocean (Bering Sea) through the Bering Strait. The Arctic Circle is crossed near the beginning and the end of all transits unless they proceed to the west coast of Greenland.
ICE BEAR in TROUBLE
Pummelled by relentless wind and rain, the Chukchi Sea was churning with huge waves. After exploring Wrangel Island in the Russian High Arctic, I was in my cabin on the Heritage Expeditions ship, Professor Khromov, as we headed south toward the Siberian mainland. Suddenly, the voice of an excited Russian crew member blared on the ship’s intercom, “Polar bear! Swimming! Near ship! Port side!” I grabbed my camera and ran out on to the deck. Scanning the sea, I searched for a furry white head among the waves; I found nothing.
Coming to Terms with the Arctic
By melding ancient hunting traditions with modern political technique, Arctic indigenous peoples present a baffling challenge to environmental diplomacy. As the Arctic ecology itself begins to change, the need for a common understanding is growing increasingly urgent.
The Fast Changing Maritime Arctic
NASA researchers and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, reported that the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by sea ice on 12 September 2009 was the third lowest since satellite measurements began in 1979. While this area was larger than the re- cord minimum coverage observed in 2007 and the minimum area for 2008, it represents one of the smallest areas on record. Arctic sea-ice coverage has declined by nearly 12 percent each of the past three decades, for a remarkable total decrease of 34 percent.
AMSA Workshop Report, December 2010
The topic for this workshop report, the Arctic Council’s Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA), came about because of the April 2009 release of the AMSA 2009 Report. AMSA has clear policy implications for the Arctic and the global maritime industry, and UArctic and UAF recognized the relevance of these issues to the mission of IACP. Nearly seventy experts from Canada, China, Denmark, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States participated; participants included representatives from the Arctic states, non-governmental organizations, indigenous groups, marine companies, maritime organizations, and academic institutions.
AMSA Security Brief, DNAK, January 2011
AMSA is a message by the Arctic states to the world with a framework to address the many, complex challenges of protecting Arctic people and the environment in an era of expanding use of the Arctic Ocean.
The AMSA 2009 Report is a key Arctic Council report and policy document, not a scientific assessment, although some elements of the report are based on the most recent scientific research especially those related to environmental impacts. AMSA is appropriately much broader than science and includes such topics as geography, law of the sea, scenarios of the future, marine infrastructure, globalization of the Arctic, indigenous viewpoints, natural resource development, and other practical issues of Arctic marine navigation; 96 findings were outlined in the assessment.