Arctic Sea Ice, Weather, and Climate Update

An overview of prevailing Arctic sea ice, weather, and climate conditions for the date of August 31, 2018.

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  1. Abel Adamski

     /  September 2, 2018

    One worth noting
    ‘The damn thing melted’: climate change sparks scramble for the Arctic
    On Monday, a Danish container ship – the Venta Maersk – set off from Busan in South Korea packed with Russian fish and Korean electronics.
    On September 22 it will dock at Bremerhaven in Germany.
    The bit in between could change the world.
    Thanks to climate change, the Venta was able to take a short cut over the top of the globe – the first container ship to do so – through the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska, above the desolate Siberian coast, past worried polar bears, melting permafrost and huge new Chinese-funded gas fields, through Arctic waters that Russia wants to control.
    “We are moving into a new Cold War,” one attendee said (the seminar was held under the Chatham House Rule, to encourage frankness, so speakers cannot be identified). “The Arctic is caught between East and West … and it is moving to the East.
    But when China is involved, there are always more than just commercial considerations.
    In January Beijing staked its claim in clear terms, issuing its first White Paper on the Arctic.
    The paper described China as a “near-Arctic state” and said countries south of the Arctic Circle had the right to engage in scientific research and navigation, resource extraction, fishing and the laying of cables and pipelines.
    It was a clear marker, and a warning, that it intends to be a major player.
    A 2007 US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks predicted “Greenland is on a clear track towards independence”, and as the Danish protectorate’s ice sheets melt, mineral riches are being exposed.
    There is not just oil (but there is a lot of that – more than Alaska, perhaps) but also diamonds, rubies, uranium, zinc and rare earths, the minerals essential to the electronics boom that powered China’s renaissance.
    And China is starting to open its pockets in Greenland, offering money to expand airports, to explore and exploit mineral deposits. It even tried to buy an abandoned US naval facility, only to be blocked at the last minute.
    If Chinese money is the catalyst for Greenland’s independence, finally weaned off its big Danish subsidy, then gratitude could give China a lot of influence in the fledgling country.
    But this could prove another Arctic flashpoint: the US Air Force base at Thule in Greenland plays a crucial role in missile defence.
    “It shows we have to be careful to look at this. It is a struggle of interests on one end, and a struggle on principles and values on the other end. We don’t know at the moment who will be the winner.”

    And the Winner is Drumroll MONEY



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