Chinese shipping firm begins using new arctic shipping route to Europe

The Arctic Ocean shipping route will cut thousands of miles off the journey from China to its key European market. (The Northeast Passage is in blue)

A Chinese merchant ship has made its maiden voyage to Europe through the “Northeast Passage.”  This route will help the world’s biggest exporter speed goods to market and is a symbol of Beijing’s strategic ambitions in the Arctic.

 

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Ozone Levels Over the Arctic Dropped By Half in the Past Year

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Much more ozone (in red) is shown over the Arctic in the left image than the right image.

Check out the stark difference between these two satellite images, taken on March 19, 2010 and March 19, 2011. The left image shows much more ozone (in red) over the Arctic than the right image. What’s happened?

 

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Polar Bears the Most Contaminated Creatures on Earth

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Polar bears full of more toxins than any creature on the planet.

As their native habitat melts, polar bears have been forced into close contact with grizzly bears and humans—both of which have limited the iconic carnivore’s ability to obtain food. This, however, is not the only problem the bears face.

 

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10,000-year-old Atlatl Dart Found Near Yellowstone

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The Mysterious Atlatl Dart

For several years, shrinking icefields in arctic and mountain regions have been revealing rare artifacts that had been covered by snow and ice for millennia.  Most of these reports have come from Canada and Alaska, but recently Craig Lee, a Research Associate from the University of Colorado at Boulder discovered an atlatl dart near Yellowstone Park.

As glaciers and ice fields continue to melt at an unprecedented rate, increasingly older and significant artifacts — as well as plant material, animal carcasses and ancient feces — are being released from the ice that has gripped them for thousands of years, he said…

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Amazing Underwater Photos of Beluga Whales at an Arctic Rehabilitation Farm

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A beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, eyes a diver a few feet away as it swims under ice at the Arctic circle Dive Center in the White Sea

They don’t get visitors in these parts that often.

That’s because these beluga whales live under three feet of ice in the freezing waters of northern Russia’s White Sea.

But when some underwater photographers arrived, they certainly weren’t shy – as these stunning images show. The whales are not endangered but under threat from pollution and loss of habitat. (Pics)

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Trees Invading Arctic Will Enhance Warming Over Entire Region

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Denali National Park is one area where once-treeless tundra will be invaded by trees

Contrary to scientists’ predictions that, as the Earth warms, the movement of trees into the Arctic will have only a local warming effect, University of California, Berkeley, scientists modeling this scenario have found that replacing tundra with trees will melt sea ice and greatly enhance warming over the entire Arctic region.

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Mysterious Biological ‘Goo’ Floats Down Alaskan Coast

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Unknown biological glob floating down coast of Alaska

A mysterious glob of unknown material up to 12 miles long has appeared off Alaska’s northern coast. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Terry Hasenauer says, “It’s certainly biological. It’s definitely not an oil product of any kind.”

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Third Of World’s Gas Reserve Found Beneath Arctic

Third Of World’s Gas Reserve Found Beneath Arctic

A third of the world’s remaining natural gas and 13 per cent of its oil is trapped beneath the Arctic 

Tensions over the Arctic’s untapped energy reserves are expected to build after a survey has found substantial mineral riches under the ice.

The analysis, by researchers at the U.S. Geologic Survey, found that a third of world’s remaining natural gas and 13 per cent of its oil are trapped beneath the oceans of the North Pole.

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‘Ice That Burns’ May Provide Clean, Sustainable Fuel For The Future

‘Ice That Burns’ May Provide Clean, Sustainable Fuel For The Future 

‘Ice that burns’ – gas hydrates

In the future, natural gas derived from chunks of ice that workers collect from beneath the ocean floor and beneath the arctic permafrost may fuel cars, heat homes, and power factories. Government researchers are reporting that these so-called “gas hydrates,” a frozen form of natural gas that bursts into flames at the touch of a match, show increasing promise as an abundant, untapped source of clean, sustainable energy. The icy chunks could supplement traditional energy sources that are in short supply and which produce large amounts of carbon dioxide linked to global warming, the scientists say.

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