The standard Mercator projection…distorts the polar regions and usually leaves them “off the map.” Only shows to 80 degrees N and S.
Storis, Spar and Bramble…5th, 6th and 7th transits of NW Passage
145th transit of NWP….160 as of mid-Oct 2011
Revenue cutters became the only federal presence in the Aleutians, Bering Sea and Arctic coast of Alaska.
Denmark invaded April 1940Cryolite, a mineral ore used for aluminum…major mine at Invigtut in SW Greenland…sodium hexaflouroaluminateWeather information…valuable for U-boat operations and flight operations in Europe
Oil confirmed in Prudhoe Bay area of Alaska’s North Slope, late 60’sSS Manhattan, [built 1962], retrofitted with an icebreaking bow. Test voyage of NWP east to Prudhoe Bay, loaded a symbolic barrel of oil and returned, with icebreaker assistance.Winter trip showed that year-round transit impossible.Alaska Pipeline became preferred option for Prudhoe Bay oil…but involved far-reaching issues such as resolution of Native Alaskan land claims.
Shipping route from N. Europe to China/Japan/Korea can save 4000 nautical miles and 22 days…time savings, fuel savings, other risks….After ambivalence about its Northern Sea Route, Russia is now actively promoting it … Icebreaker services, regulations, search & rescue bases, new icebreakers2 commercial ships in 2009, 18 in 2011….47 vessels, 1.3M tons of cargo in 2012.
NWP… 160 ship transits since Amundsen in 1903-06….16 of these in 2011 … but no commercial shipping as with NSRAMSA…2012…1st submarine fiber optic cables laid in the Arctic, UK to Japan….linking Arctic communitiesBoth Arctic routes use the Bering Strait … US watersTransits increasing 30-40% per year….325 vessel transits in 2010$1 billion in goodsCG planning traffic lanes and improved navigation
USGS estimates 2008: 400 billion bbl of oil in the Arctic, 6.7% of world’s proven oil, 13% of undiscovered oil…even greater percentages of natural gas (26%/30%)Russia…farthest ahead, most aggressive Arctic program….oil to replace declining older fieldsRecent deal between Exxon & Rosneft, the state oil companyMarch 2012—allowing private companies access (poor results from state-owned efforts), plus new tax systemNorway…recently settled the offshore Barents Sea boundary with Russia (July 2011)….Statoil exploring program in the Barents…33 new Arctic leases this year.Canada…Arctic Beaufort Sea very active in the 1970’s & 80’s….300,000 barrels producedBy end of the 80’s, production stopped due to new, more accessible sources2008 -2010….BP and Chevron have won bids for new explorationGreenland…controversial exploratory drilling off the west coastOpposition by Greenpeace, which is disliked in GreenlandSept 2011…6th dry well, over $1.2 billion spent…early 2012 Cairn Energy says no further plans
In 2005 and 2008, US government auctioned offshore leases in Beaufort and Chukchi Seas…area available went from 9M acres to 77M acres.Shell Oil spent over $2B in leases….initial exploratory drilling planned in 2007 postponed by lawsuits.2012 – permitting complete, Shell planning to drill up to 10 exploratory wells over the next 2 years22 ships, including 2 icebreaking anchor-handing supply ships built for the jobEarly March 2012—Shell granted an restraining order against Greenpeace, for non-interference with vesselsMaturing fields around Prudhoe Bay are declining….Alaska Pipeline now at 1/3 capacity and declining 7% per year…will soon be unusable. [Max 2.1M bbl/day; 2000 1.0M bbl/day; 2011 650K bbl/day]
Estimated 1 million visitors per year, afloat & ashore….growing ecotourismSince the late 70’s, Russian icebreaker tours to the North Pole, $23 to 33k.7 cruise ships with 3,000 visitors to Alaska north coastline in summer 2011…compares to 70 ships & 150,000 tourists to GreenlandRussia has recently designated a National Park of the Arctic
For ship-based tourism, most of the Arctic isPoorly chartedLacks navigational aids and informationHas no emergency assistance resourcesProvides minimal communication servicesAnd accidents are happening….2010 saw 3 large ship groundings in the NWP…MV Clipper Adventurer, hard aground with 128 pax & 69 crew on an uncharted rock….had to evacuate to a CCG icebreakerOther 2 groundings were tankers, small but considerable pollution risk
Arctic native peoples marginalized for many years, but increasingly demanding a voice in the Arctic’s future….Alaska Pipeline and resolution of native land claims sparked this consciousness.Inuit Circumpolar Council, an international forum for native groups across international boundaries, began forming in 1977….represents 150,000 people in the U.S., Canada, Greenland and Russia. Focused on the rights, interests and culture.A new territory, Nunavut, formed in Canada as a result of resolving Canadian native land claims…the size of W. Europe, 33,000 people.Inukshuk = land marker, guide and special or sacred places.The 12 regional Alaska native corporations have brought considerable political and economic clout to Alaska Inupiat and Yupik peoples.Greenland….57,000 people, 88% Inuit. Home rule in 1979, self-government in 2009…Denmark retains defense & foreign policy responsibilities and provides a subsidy of about 30% of GDP.
Access is the key…Arctic is the least investigated ocean basin. Nansen-Gakkel Ridge study 10 years ago: “More rocks from the moon than from this ridge system.”
Environmental issues most visible with regard to oil exploration… But also affects transportation, tourism, native desires, even science (research near Alaska must work around whale migrations, noise etc.)Should the Arctic be a preserve, with no development, similar to Antarctica? (more on this to follow). Or is it a matter of controlling development? Pew study (March 2012): 65% of US respondents say more offshore oil & gas drilling….44% in 2010. Lars-Eric Lindblad: “You can’t protect what you don’t know.” Implication: tourism builds environmental awareness and support.
Final category of Arctic trends involves the interplay of international politics…Arctic Council is a forum for the 8 Arctic nations, plus the Inuit Circumpolar Council…1996Things really were stirred up when a Russian expedition used a mini-sub to plant a titanium flag on the sea bed at the North Pole…claimed it for Russia and aroused significant press interest.Some have over-played the risk of conflict…little likelihood of a shooting war, but disputes abound:Border issues: US-Canada offshore, Canada-GreenlandNWP status: internal waters or international waterway?Rights of non-Arctic nations? China particularly… “The Arctic belongs to all the people around the world.” Twice requested permanent observer status on the Arctic Council, twice refusedCaused the U.S. to update its Arctic Policy in a Presidential Executive Order
Biggest geopolitical issue: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea allows nations to claim rights on continental shelf areas extending beyond the 200-mile exclusive economic zone…in certain circumstances where hydrographic & geological data meets criteriaUS potential for 6 ECS areas, totalling 1 million square kilometers…twice the area of California. One of the largest areas is in the Arctic Ocean.The US and Canada have been working together for several years, with icebreakers from each country to gather this data.LR picture is a new seamount discovered in 2003 by the icebreaker HEALY with its bottom mapping sonar….40 km by 13 km, 2000 m above the ocean floor.But … US has not ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty…
Kivilina…community of 400 in NW Alaska, on a barrier island….reduced in size from 54 to 27 acres since 1953, continuing erosion. Relocation issues
Russia…stated national policy of developing Arctic resources, including oil & gas and transportation…building program of 6 icebreakers, some nuclear.EU….plans for a huge icebreaking research vessel and drill ship….decision to build in early 2012Canada….new large icebreaker being designed, several armed ice-capable Navy patrol vessels.China…building its 2nd icebreaker, advertised research programs in Arctic and Antarctic…3 Antarctic stations, a 4th planned, station in SvalbardKorea…icebreaker Araon completed in 2010….2 Antarctic and 1 Arctic stationJapan…new icebreaker built in 2009, 2 Antarctic stationsSouth Africa….new icebreaking research and supply ship just completed in early 2012…an Antarctic stationChile….recently announced an increase in its Antarctic activities, plans to replace its small icebreaker
91% of earth’s glacial ice … never inhabited … not explored until 20th centuryAntarctic Treaty – created 1959, entered into force 1961….originally 12 nations active in IGY; now 48 signatory nationsReserves Antarctica for peaceful purposes onlyEstablishes freedom of scientific investigation, and requires exchange & availability of scientific observationsBans military activitySets aside territorial claimsLater conventions/annexes on flora & fauna, LMR, mineral resources, environmental impact assessmentsA living entity…
US had a lead role in forming and maintaining the Treaty system…Has remained engaged in a cooperative role with other nations…3 active bases and the premier logistics system
Closest conflict: Falklands War of 1982….South Georgia….overlapping claimsTourism…34,950 ship visitors in 2012-13 season MV Explorer sinking, other accidentsResources: krill, whaling, fishing
The Arctic: Back on the Map
The Arctic:Back on the MapJeffrey M. Garrett WISTA, May 15, 2013
The Northwest Passage… in1846HMS Erebus, Sir John Franklin
In 1957…U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Storis, Spar andBramble
And in 2011Motor Yacht ArcadiaAn ice-freewaterway!
The U.S. is an Arctic Nation?• Alaska!• 1867 - “Seward’s Folly” made the UnitedStates an Arctic nation• Revenue cutters became the primarygovernment presence in Arctic & sub-Arcticwaters
Early ArcticOperations• Exploration &Science• Enforcement ofenvironmental laws• Civil government &communityassistance
Bering SeaPatrolAnnual patrolsinto the BeringSea and ArcticOcean until1941
World War II –conflict on themarginsIn the West …• Kiska & Attu invaded& retaken• The Alaska Highwaybuilt
In the East …Wartime operations in Greenland• Securing astrategic location• Capturing Germanweather stations• Building modernicebreakers
1950’s – Cold War in theArctic• Arctic air bases• Defense early warningradar sites• Northwest Passage
1960’s and 1970’s -- Oil• Prudhoe Baydiscovery• 1969 - SS Manhattantransited NWPassage• Alaska Pipeline built
1980’s and 1990’s -- Science• Declining need for Arctic logistics• Cold War-related Defense researchends…but general science demandsincrease• First indications of climatechange in the Arctic
2000’s – A Flurry of Activity• Transportation• Oil & Gas resources• Tourism &adventure travel• Native Peoples• Science• Environmentalconcerns• Geopolitics
Transportation• Less ice = moreaccess• Northern SeaRoute… a newwaterway