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2013
Polar Political Economy
Climate Change and the Arctic

Gordon M. Groat
Polar Political Economics
1/1/2013
DEDICATION

To my Friends and Family,
With each new avenue to examinethere was a new commitment. I'm keenly aware that tim...
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Dedication ................................................................................................
Part II Arctic Climate Change................................................................................................
Arctic Rare Earth Elements, Hydrocarbons, and Minerals ......................................................................
Non Arctic Observers of the Arctic Council ..................................................................................
Ties That Bind ..............................................................................................................
TABLE OF ABBREVIATIONS
Abbreviation
AHA
AIA
AMAP
ANWR
APGC
APECS
BLM
CALM
CFC's
CO2
DEW Line
EEZ
EIA
ESAS
EU
GHG
GWP
HCFC'...
SAR
SARC
SF6
SST
TAPS
TSP
USSR
WMO

Search and Rescue
Search and Rescue Convention
Sulfur hexafluoride
Sea Surface Tempera...
PART I CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate Change from 30,000 Feet
There can be little doubt that climate change is a growing concern. ...
We have all heard the cornerstone arguments of climate change skeptics many times over the years.
While growing attention ...
Assuming society decide to become focused on climate changeand create an impetus for policy change, it
must be remembered ...
As climate change challenges science to arrive at answers, more and more integration of planetary
systems have become incr...
Differentlevels of government and government plannersare paying more attention to be sure their
infrastructure projects ar...
Atmospheric CO2Levels
Transitioning into the 21st century, there has been an ongoing scientific debate where climate
chang...
Figure 1- NOAA 2009 - 2014 CO2 Levels

Source:http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

Trending over the last few years ...
overwhelmed. This excess over capacity to remove is commonly referred to as carbon forcing
and is a contributing factor to...
The GWP is a way of measuring the amount of energy from solar radiation that the gas can
absorb over a period of time, usu...
Probably the best way to describe the overall lifetime residue of CO2 in the atmosphere is
characterized by some portion o...
as embracing the best scientific decision based on the science we know about the short term and
long term gases.

Ice Core...
since the 1800’s CO2 ppm has been rising at a faster rate than ever before recorded, and it is
growing faster each year.
D...
CO2 Projections to the 22nd Century
The projections of CO2 emissions through the remainder of the 21st century are substan...
Figure 4 - GISS CO2 Emissions to 2100 by Category
Source : http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100218a/

As transport...
Figure 5 - Climate Impacts to 2100 by Industry Mw
Source : http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100218a/

It can also ...
commuting, the global impact of CO2 emissions can be significantly reduced, or at least the rate
of growth can be limited....
(APGC). In addition to the Arctic and Antarctic, APGC is recession. The loss of ice across the
Arctic, Himalayas, and Anta...
ocean, reduced pH is called acidification. In a human patient, this would be called acidosis. In
both cases, serious conse...
The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AAMAP) released a statement through the
Arctic Council that points to an A...
The Great Ocean Conveyor System
The great ocean conveyor systemhas long been known to distribute warm and cold water
globa...
The traditional ocean conveyor is thought to be integrally involved with global weather patterns.
In 2009, Duke University...
explored.Fundamentally, it is understood that thermohaline currents have a significant impact on
the constant motion of th...
Dr. Jennifer Francis, a climate researcher from Rutgers University, has spent the last 15 years
specializing in the study ...
Interestingly, Dr. Francis superimposed the high level jet stream data onto maps that correlate to
times when recent major...
expected. COREXITapplication is thought to have generated significant enough outcomes and to
have generated sufficient siz...
locations such as London could be subject to climate change acceleration if the strength of the
Gulf Stream deteriorates. ...
Accordingly, when goals are negotiated, there are early signals that the agreements sought, and
argued over, may in fact b...
increase of GHG release due to PSPFL release combined with anthropogenic forcing could drive
CO2ppm to extraordinarily hig...
real need for political acceptance of the science and the beginning of a serious effort to begin
concrete plans for adapta...
Figure 8 - 2012 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum
Source : http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-seaicemin.html

While the A...
Figure 9 - Polar Visualization of Sea Ice Minimum 2012
Source : http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-seaicemin.h...
Reduction of Arctic Ice
The reduction of Arctic Ice creates a variety of issues and opportunities. The issue from the
stan...
Unusual weather patterns noted in 2012 include the U.S. drought, and a sudden widespread
surface melt event impacting the ...
broke off due to the high temperatures, but since this section was already floating on the ocean,
it will not contribute t...
Ice melt rate is also affected by other factors, including airborne particulates raining out over the
ice sheet causing da...
Particulates that absorb heat like black carbon, vanillic acid, and sulphur that fall on the
Greenland Ice Shelf create th...
It may also be presumed these holes contribute integrity challenges to the ice sheet, probably
creating larger areas that ...
Figure 13 - Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf
Source: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov

As climate change creates larger open wate...
If technology existed to easily capture methane from the Arctic tundra, the sheer quantity of
deposits might help to accel...
Seals and Walrus
Seal is one of the most important sources of Arctic diets. Not only are seals plentiful, their skin
provi...
Inuit also believe narwhales are very sensitive to manmade noise, causing them to seek shallow
water and remain immobile. ...
strong and their vulnerability to climate change is not yet known, the one thing we do know is
that they are susceptible t...
Muskox live in certain portions of the Arctic and hunting them is limited. Although Muskox is an
excellent source of food,...
One question of interest relates to permanent emigration of Polar Bears, but radio telemetry
studies show a high degree of...
As the ice free zone in the Arctic extends, there is an increasing availability to international zones,
those areas outsid...
andupon exclusive economic zones (EEZ). Beneficiaries to the political processes will receive
substantial economic opportu...
infrastructure capacity. Because of rail connections to the major port of Prince Rupert, the same
area that Canada enjoys ...
day(USEIA, 2008). The appetite for new exploration and additional revenues grows as TAPS
throughput diminishes, thereby co...
While these regulations create some amount of palpable discord between energy exploration
companies, other energy companie...
Figure 14 - Vladimir Putin
Source: http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/4779

Commercially, the prospect of shipping through ...
Figure 15 - Northern Route and Northwest Passage
Source: http://www.unep.org/yearbook/2003/053.htm

As these two options b...
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic
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Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic

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A layman's perspective on the emerging polar political economy and how climate change in the Arctic will be a driving factor in the development of polar politics and economic change.

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Transcript of "Polar Political Economy, Climate Change, and the Arctic"

  1. 1. 2013 Polar Political Economy Climate Change and the Arctic Gordon M. Groat Polar Political Economics 1/1/2013
  2. 2. DEDICATION To my Friends and Family, With each new avenue to examinethere was a new commitment. I'm keenly aware that time is short for all of us, so I thank you with all my heart for your patience and tolerance as I wandered through these doorways of discovery. The doors have opened to the Arctic on more than one occasion. It is only through the love and genuine caring of my friends and family that I have been able to make my way through life's journey. My lovely wife and daughter bring me joy and happiness each day, and the joy of my own family is translated to my extended family from several countries. I own a debt of gratitude to everybody and I humbly thank you all for your inspiration and humanity. Special thanks to Mom... a source of the most exceptional inspiration and the person who succinctly reminded me... "Just finish it before all the information melts" With love, adoration, and respect, 1
  3. 3. TABLE OF CONTENTS Dedication ............................................................................................................................................................................... 1 Table of Abbreviations .......................................................................................................................................................... 7 Part I Climate Change ........................................................................................................................................................... 9 Climate Change from 30,000 Feet ..................................................................................................................................... 9 Isotope Finger Prints ........................................................................................................................................................... 11 The Interconnected Earth ................................................................................................................................................... 11 Governments and Climate Adaptation............................................................................................................................. 12 Science Mash ....................................................................................................................................................................... 13 Atmospheric CO2 Levels ..................................................................................................................................................... 14 Long Term Gases ................................................................................................................................................................. 16 Short Term Gases ................................................................................................................................................................ 18 Ice Core Samples ................................................................................................................................................................. 19 CO2 Projections to the 22nd Century ................................................................................................................................ 21 Subsurface Sedimentary Samples ................................................................................................................................... 24 Rising Sea Surface Temperatures .................................................................................................................................... 24 Ocean Acidification ............................................................................................................................................................. 25 The Great Ocean Conveyor System................................................................................................................................... 28 The Jet Stream Impact........................................................................................................................................................ 30 Yucatan Current & Gulf Stream......................................................................................................................................... 32 COP18 – DOHA UN Report on Permafrost Thawing ...................................................................................................... 34 Permafrost Positive Feedback Loop................................................................................................................................. 35 Planetary Scale Positive Feedback Loop ......................................................................................................................... 36 2
  4. 4. Part II Arctic Climate Change............................................................................................................................................. 37 Rate of Change in the Arctic .............................................................................................................................................. 37 Reduction of Arctic Ice ........................................................................................................................................................ 40 The Greenland Ice Sheet .................................................................................................................................................... 40 Imagery of Greenland ......................................................................................................................................................... 41 Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf Carbon Deposits and Methane ...................................................................................... 45 Part III –Wildlife ................................................................................................................................................................... 47 Changing Patterns ............................................................................................................................................................... 47 Seals and Walrus ................................................................................................................................................................. 48 Whales................................................................................................................................................................................... 48 Caribou and Muskox............................................................................................................................................................ 50 Salmon and Char ................................................................................................................................................................. 51 Polar Bears ........................................................................................................................................................................... 51 Waterfowl and Birds ............................................................................................................................................................ 52 Commercial Fishing ............................................................................................................................................................ 52 Part IV Arctic Political Economy ........................................................................................................................................ 53 Arctic Political Economy – North America ....................................................................................................................... 53 Federal constraints in Alaska ............................................................................................................................................ 56 Economic Opportunity......................................................................................................................................................... 57 Asia Pacific / North America / Europe ............................................................................................................................. 60 UNCLOS – USN & USCG Perspective ................................................................................................................................ 61 U.S. UNCLOS Issues - Undersea Mining and the International Seabed Authority ...................................................... 63 The Kyoto Backdoor ............................................................................................................................................................ 64 3
  5. 5. Arctic Rare Earth Elements, Hydrocarbons, and Minerals ............................................................................................ 65 Economics of Transarctic Shipping ................................................................................................................................... 67 Arctic Gateways of North America .................................................................................................................................... 68 Asia Pacific Gateway ........................................................................................................................................................... 70 Arctic Gateway ..................................................................................................................................................................... 73 Part V Arctic Council ............................................................................................................................................................ 74 Permanent Participants ..................................................................................................................................................... 74 Arctic Athabaskan Council ................................................................................................................................................. 76 Aleut International association ......................................................................................................................................... 77 Gwich’in Council International ........................................................................................................................................... 77 Inuit circumpolar council .................................................................................................................................................... 78 Russian Association of Indigenous peoples of the north .............................................................................................. 78 Saami council ....................................................................................................................................................................... 78 Council Members ................................................................................................................................................................. 79 Russian Federation ............................................................................................................................................................. 79 United States ........................................................................................................................................................................ 80 Canada .................................................................................................................................................................................. 81 Iceland ................................................................................................................................................................................... 82 Norway................................................................................................................................................................................... 83 Sweden .................................................................................................................................................................................. 84 Finland ................................................................................................................................................................................... 85 Denmark ............................................................................................................................................................................... 85 Arctic Council Observer Status .......................................................................................................................................... 86 4
  6. 6. Non Arctic Observers of the Arctic Council ...................................................................................................................... 86 Intergovernmental and Inter-parliamentary .................................................................................................................... 86 Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) ......................................................................................................................... 87 Applicants for Observer Status .......................................................................................................................................... 87 China ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 88 Italy ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 90 Japan ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 90 Republic of Korea ................................................................................................................................................................ 91 Singapore .............................................................................................................................................................................. 91 India ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 92 European Union.................................................................................................................................................................... 92 Oceana .................................................................................................................................................................................. 93 Association of Oil and Gas Producers .............................................................................................................................. 93 OSPAR Commission ............................................................................................................................................................ 94 Greenpeace .......................................................................................................................................................................... 95 International Hydrographic Organisation......................................................................................................................... 95 World Meteorological Organization .................................................................................................................................. 95 Association of Polar Early Career Scientists ................................................................................................................... 96 Arctic Council and Arctic Circle.......................................................................................................................................... 96 Part VI Geo Strategic Influence ......................................................................................................................................... 97 Strategic Relationships....................................................................................................................................................... 99 Polar Class Icebreakers and Polar Transportation ...................................................................................................... 100 Arctic Summits.................................................................................................................................................................. 101 5
  7. 7. Ties That Bind .................................................................................................................................................................... 103 Search and Rescue and Oil Spill Response Overview................................................................................................. 104 Search and Rescue and Oil Spill Response .................................................................................................................. 104 Oil Spill Response ............................................................................................................................................................. 105 Lomonosov Ridge and Mendeleev Ridge ..................................................................................................................... 107 Government Relations at Different Levels ................................................................................................................... 109 Initiatives of the People ................................................................................................................................................... 110 Thoughts and Observations ............................................................................................................................................ 111 Bibliography ....................................................................................................................................................................... 113 Table of Figures................................................................................................................................................................. 122 6
  8. 8. TABLE OF ABBREVIATIONS Abbreviation AHA AIA AMAP ANWR APGC APECS BLM CALM CFC's CO2 DEW Line EEZ EIA ESAS EU GHG GWP HCFC's HFC's IHO ISA KOGAS LNG N2O NATO NCAOR NGO NPR OGP OSPAR OSR PFC's PFL PPFL PSPFL pH ppm REE Meaning Arctic Himalaya Antarctic Aleut International Association Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Aggregate Planetary Glacial Coverage Association of Polar Early Career Scientists Bureau of Land Management Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring Chlorofluorocarbons Carbon dioxide Defense Early Warning Line Exclusive Economic Zone Edmonton International Airport Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf European Union Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Warming Potential hydrochlorofluorocarbons hydrofluorocarbons International Hydrographic Organisation International Seabed Authority Korean Gas Company Liquid Natural Gas Nitrous oxide North Atlantic Treaty Organization National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research Non Governmental Organization National Petroleum Reserve Association of Oil and Gas Producers Oslo Paris Commission Oil Spill Response perfluorocarbons Positive Feedback Loop Permafrost Positive Feedback Loop Planetary Scale Positive Feedback Loop Parts Hydrogen Parts Per Million Rare Earth Element 7
  9. 9. SAR SARC SF6 SST TAPS TSP USSR WMO Search and Rescue Search and Rescue Convention Sulfur hexafluoride Sea Surface Temperature Trans Alaska Pipeline System Thermal State of Permafrost Union of Soviet Socialist Republics World Meteorological Organization 8
  10. 10. PART I CLIMATE CHANGE Climate Change from 30,000 Feet There can be little doubt that climate change is a growing concern. News of dramatic storm events continually adds to public awareness of climate change. The idea that climate change contributes to storm events has drawn the attention of the reinsurance industry. Munich Reinsurance a.k.a. Munich RE, is the World’s largest reinsurance company. Munich RE provides insurance to insurance companies. Dr. Peter Hoeppe, Head of Geo Risks Research for Munich RE points out that a large part of the Munich RE business model is to provide insurance for natural catastrophes and environment related claims. As such, it is quite important for Munich RE business model to have a strong understanding of the risks involved. Munich RE insurance data on U.S. weather event damage since 1980 reveals both number of events and claim values of events have been rising steadily across categories; droughts, forest fires, floods, and storms.The insurance industry is estimated to control approximately 25 trillion USD in assets, roughly equivalent to the global pension funds or mutual funds(Mills, 2012). The influence of reinsurance companies in global markets represents a considerable influence on markets and implies appropriate resourcing to secure extraordinarily robust capacity for risk analysis. Extending to a more historical view, Earth has been going through climate change events since the beginning of time. There have, for some time, been different pockets of agreement and large gaps between science and the wider public. Some postulate the science just isn’t settled on the matter of climate change and suggest there’s no widespread agreement. Other arguments suggest there is really no way to know, with certainty, if mankind has really had any measurable impact on the climate. This, of course, begs the question; if mankind has nothing whatsoever to do with climate change, why would we even worry about it at all? After all, invoking that logic, this would all be just a natural cycle for the planet and mankind would have no ability to influence what transpires. 9
  11. 11. We have all heard the cornerstone arguments of climate change skeptics many times over the years. While growing attention certainly raises the discussion to new levels, there will always be some people who are just not interested in exploring the science. There are those who will argue that without complete certainty, no arguments and no policy should be made. And of course, there are those who would insist that while the planet is obviously quite variable and that some amount of climate change is a result of input and output models, both are increasing in rate of growth and power due to primarily natural causes. Finally, anthropogenic forcing of carbon as a climate change driver, remains completely off the table for some people as their argument is centered on the premise that either there is no anthropogenic contribution to climate change or that any anthropogenic input is, simply stated, entirely insignificant and irrelevant. Science itself, however, tends to speak for itself. Science generally has to start at a certain point where most information about a subject is largely unknown, it then progresses to a stage where most of the information becomes known and can be empirically proven. The concept that climate change is being accelerated by anthropogenic causes is somewhere on that scale of certainty, but scientists seem to overwhelmingly agree that it is a lot closer to the proven side rather than the disproven side. In other words, this isn’t an all or none bet, but the writing certainly seems to be on the wall as widespread scientific agreement continues to grow. At some point, it should seem obvious that given the enormous complexity of climate research and the multiplicity of sciences involved, that policy makers shall need to grapple with the issue of finding the balance of evidence. In other words, at what point is there enough information for policy makers to be satisfied that climate change has an anthropogenic component? This book is simply a layman's attempt to examine some of the different sciences that inform climate change. What matters, really, is how the reader chooses to think about climate change and decide for themselves if they believe anthropogenic inputs matter and if so, what would their position be on policy designed to reduce anthropogenic inputs. 10
  12. 12. Assuming society decide to become focused on climate changeand create an impetus for policy change, it must be remembered that the economic growth of the developing World will be an important component of policy development. Countries highly dependent on hydrocarbon fuel will not be likely to choose to go backwards in their development, so those roads will need to be negotiated and they will produce enormous challenges. Developing countries must be allowed the opportunity for growth and the aspiration to reduce poverty. Isotope Finger Prints Mankind has been creating an impact from the very beginning of course. When mankind began the process of deforestation to move forward as an agricultural society, larger anthropogenic impacts began to take place. The industrial age ushered in an era of accelerated impact. But how do we measure that? Of all the logic, implications, and inferences that science gives us regarding climate change, one particularly fascinating aspect is isotope measurement of carbon. Isotope measurement is quite interesting insomuch as it provides a way to associate the anthropogenic fingerprint on climate change. Through isotope measurement, we can tell, with a great degree of certainty, what caused the CO2. Since CO2 from burning fossil fuels and burning forests have a different isotopic composition from CO2 in the atmosphere, the calculated rations of CO2 in the atmosphere allow for an analysis of the amount of naturally occurring CO2 and anthropogenic CO2. In short, it’s a scientific method to fingerprint the amount of human driven contribution. The results point to measureable anthropogenic carbon forcing as having a contributory effect on climate change(Stuiver, et al., 1984). The Interconnected Earth Planetary climate change is a massive subject and finds intersections with numerous sciences. Throughout the interconnected matrix of science, the recurring theme of mankind’s impact upon the Earth’s atmosphere remains a constant. The only thing to determine is to what extent human activity impacts our atmosphere, and what the ramifications of those impactsare. 11
  13. 13. As climate change challenges science to arrive at answers, more and more integration of planetary systems have become increasingly obvious to science. Interconnected systems and their impacts upon each other have revealed a complexity that continues to morph and grow. As those complexities grow, the ramifications of what science can tell us about the interconnectedness of our earth systems will continue to inform the overall understanding of climate change. Advancement of the study of climate changewill continue to expand our understanding of anthropogenic impacts upon the planet. Governments and Climate Adaptation Having attended a number of conferences where climate change was a central theme of the dialogue, it’s quite obvious the global concerns extend well beyond the potential for climate change to impact individual societies. The largest concerns now, it seems, have shifted into an adaptation model. Discussions relative to displaced populations, economic costs associated with change, and how the global community should move forward, require a logical balancing of substantial costs, benefits, and consequences. The discussions and costs associated with climate change manifest themselves in a variety of ways with one of the more visible impacts beinglarge scale storm events. Single storm events and the damage caused by them, are a phenomena of growing intensity and frequency. Severe weather events and the increasing quantity of those events have marked our recent memory. While some debate different aspects of the science, there are few in the scientific community who will insist there is nothing to be concerned about, fewer still in the insurance industry. The U.S. insurance industry experienced 32 some billion in storm related claims in 2011(Jergler, 2012). It’s quite understandable the insurance industry is intensely interested in climate change. It is, in fact, an enormously important part of the core interests of the reinsurance industry because it has a very direct financial impact upon their business. As industry and public become more focused on climate change, governments will follow suit as a matter of representing the broad balance of opinions within society. 12
  14. 14. Differentlevels of government and government plannersare paying more attention to be sure their infrastructure projects are able to withstand the impact of climate change(Ontario, 2012).This is a matter of adaptation and requiring investment and it is, therefore, a matter of interest to the taxpayers who funds these investments. As the rate of climate change increases, regardless of cause, a cascading raft of implications will impact mankind, and that impact will be felt, in some manner, everywhere although the most severe consequences are not predicted to be distributed evenly. In other words, rising sea levels are predicted to impact low lying coastal areas in advance of other areas. Currently, as the effects of climate change impact the high latitudes first, the issue of climate changes refugees is becoming a reality in the Circumpolar World along low lying coastal areas, such as we see in places like Newtok, Alaska(Goldenberg, 2013). Science Mash As the rate of sea level rises, the risk of storm surge damage grows also, creating large scale potential for significant damage in costal locations. The range of science is as impressive as the ramifications of the subject matter, and by mashing up the science; we find the accelerating rate of climate change is amplified by positive feedback loops (PFL).In other words, as more CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, the warmer air temperatures become. As air temperatures rise, faster ice melting and evaporation will generate more moisture in the atmosphere, which is in and of itself a greenhouse gas. All of these lead to increased significant weather events. Increased temperatures also accelerate ice melt in the polar regions. In the Arctic Ocean, as the ice melts there is more dark water to absorb energy, this in turn adds to melting due to warmer sea surface temperatures. Understanding the PFL’s and how they interact with each other will lead to an enhanced understanding of the cumulative effect of PFL’s and how thataccelerates the rate of climate change. The accelerating rate of climate change due to the PFL’s encourage the use of coupled climate models in order to generate more predictive models when solving for potential outcomes of climate change(Cox, 2000). 13
  15. 15. Atmospheric CO2Levels Transitioning into the 21st century, there has been an ongoing scientific debate where climate change is concerned. As more science is evaluated, it has become increasingly obvious that the climate is changing dramatically. One of the films that helped shift the conversation from scientific communities more squarely into the public mainstream was Al Gore’s film entitled "An Inconvenient Truth". An Inconvenient Truth won two Academy Awards, twenty three other awards,and garnered 24 million in U.S. box office receipts, 26 million in foreign box office receipts, and is the 9th highest grossing documentary film to date(IMDb, 2006). Clearly, there were many people who were interested in the subject. In the film, the central theme is the growth of anthropogenic global carbon dioxide emissions. The parts per million (ppm) of CO2 as recorded by observation posts around the World are graphed to show the historic patters of CO2 in the atmosphere. Since 2008, the amount of atmospheric CO2 recorded at the Mauna Loa Observatory site recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has risen from about 385 parts per million (ppm) to 391 ppm as of October 2012(NOAA, 2012). 14
  16. 16. Figure 1- NOAA 2009 - 2014 CO2 Levels Source:http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ Trending over the last few years is consistent with trending noticed since accurate monitoring of atmospheric CO2 levels began at Mauna Loa. Observations have taken place at Mauna Loa since shortly after the midpoint of the 20th century and reveal a steady climb from around 318 ppm to the current levels that are approaching 400 ppm. The 400 ppm mark(NOAA, 2013) was reached in May of 2013, recording a milestone in the amount of CO2in the atmosphere. Continued emissions from anthropogenic sources do not constitute the largest percentage of the normal global carbon cycle, but the portion is considerable. As the levels of CO2raise, the overall amount in the atmosphere continues to grow. Due to the sheer amount of CO2 emissions exceeding the capacity of planetary carbon sinks, the Earth's ability to remove CO2 is being 15
  17. 17. overwhelmed. This excess over capacity to remove is commonly referred to as carbon forcing and is a contributing factor to the rise in atmospheric CO2 ppm growth. The clear evidence of longitudinal carbon forcing has been measured in numerous locations globally, with the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaiibeing quite well known. Figure 2 - Atmospheric CO2 Mauna Loa since the mid-20th Century Source:http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ Long Term Gases The reason CO2 gets so much attention given the wide range of anthropogenic greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, is the fact that it will last and persist in the atmosphere for a thousands of years. Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a calculation for greenhouse gases (GHG) potential to impact climate change. 16
  18. 18. The GWP is a way of measuring the amount of energy from solar radiation that the gas can absorb over a period of time, usually over one hundred years, and the length of time it will remain in the atmosphere. Because CO2 is by far the most prevalent GHG in Earth’s atmosphere, the GWP model sets CO2 as 1, where all other GHG’s are evaluated compared to CO2.Calculating the potential of the gas and adjusting for the length of time it remains in the atmosphere creates a metric that gives us a reference with which to compare different gases. Methane has a GWP more than 20 times higher than CO2 as measured on a 100 year time scale. Nitrous Oxide (N2O)is about 300 times higher than CO2 and lasts for more than 100 years in the atmosphere. Other gases that contain chlorine or fluorine and have high GWP ratings are perfluorocarbons (PFCs), Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) are all called high-GWP gases because, for a given amount of mass, they trap substantially more heat than CO2does.(IPCC, 2007). Some paleoclimatologists, however, warn that atmospheric CO2 is quite misunderstood. Essentially, the largest area of complexity has to do with the way the gas is taken up in various Earth systems, especially the oceans since they are the largest carbon sink on the planet. Some of the gas is taken up by the ocean, thus creating the possibility that some of the gas may only be exposed to the atmosphere for a relatively short period of time, possibly measured in just a few years. Yet much of the gas is released back into the atmosphere from the oceans. This, in turn, creates an argument that CO2 may linger in the atmosphere for centuries or even millennia. From the layman's perspective, this seems to be a splitting of the chemical hairs and of little useful interest. What people really want to know is, on the whole, how long does the gas exist in the atmosphere, not what kind of arguments we can make that reflect challenges to the scientific minutiae of climate change drivers. 17
  19. 19. Probably the best way to describe the overall lifetime residue of CO2 in the atmosphere is characterized by some portion of it being removed in a short period of time, say a few decades, and some of it may remain in the atmosphere for millennia. There is no precise way to isolate and define exactly what percentage of CO2 remains in the atmosphere and for what amount of time. What we can say, however, is that a portion of the CO2 forced into the atmosphere in excess of what can be removed by planetary carbon sinks will last for centuries or millennia. The long persistence of CO2 is what creates such interest in the gas and is also why science carries such a strong interest in CO2 emissions. Short Term Gases Gases that last a relatively short time in the atmosphere can do significant damage, like methane (CH4), but for only a relatively short period of time (ranges from 10 to 12 years). Within the range of GHG’s, the PFC’s, CFC’s, HFC’s, and HCFC’s can exhibit both short term and long term ranges, depending on the composition. These may range from a few years of persistence, such as Methyl chloroform at 5 years, to Sulfur hexafluoride at 3,200 years and PFC-116 at 10,000 years to PFC-14 at 50,000 years. Some of the most widely used high impact short term GHG’s are covered under the Montreal Protocol(UN, 1987)which has demonstrated that unified international agreements on limits combined with movement into less harmful technologies has had a positive impact on atmospheric levels of these gases. In other words, it is possible to make a difference if the global community is prepared to make agreements and observe them. Quite often, however, large sweeping international agreements like Kyoto have or imply substantial implications for national economic impact and costs. This can become highly politicized depending on the prevailing nationaleconomic conditions at the time, and in addition, the overall capacity of signatories to sustain protracted economic hardships. It’s rarely as simple 18
  20. 20. as embracing the best scientific decision based on the science we know about the short term and long term gases. Ice Core Samples It is possible to examine atmospheric levels of CO2 prior to the start of 20th century monitoring. To do this, we examine ice core samples. In ice core samples, small air pockets that were formed thousands of years ago can now be analyzed with modern technology. Scientists are able to secure ice core samples and evaluate the gas composition within those air pockets. This gives us a way to look back in time and plot the atmospheric CO2 in ppm across tens of thousands years. Numerous studies have been conducted that suggest for that records dating back a millennia are fairly consistent in peaks of less than 300ppm, usually around 285ppm. The measurement of ppm CO2 in the atmosphere correlates to mean temperature analysis projections and is well documented over the course of the last couple of centuries. In order to have a more meaningful overview of the nature of CO2 ppm measurements, a study of ice cores from the Antarctic were undertaken. Three sites were selected and sampled, DE08, DEO8-2, and DSS ice-cores(Etheridge, et al., 1988). The ice cores were analyzed and results plotted using a graph of 75 year intervals to smooth the graph for a more meaningful presentation; the analysis correlates with other ice core analysis studies taken from the Antarctic. The main implication of ice core sample analysis is that at approximately the onset of the industrial age, when humans began burning large amounts of coal to fuel factories and transportation systems, the rise of atmospheric CO2 began to climb in a manner that is an anomaly compared to data from older sections of ice cores. The rising CO2 ppm counts in the atmosphere have been rising dramatically, ice cores show this. Ice core sample data shows that 19
  21. 21. since the 1800’s CO2 ppm has been rising at a faster rate than ever before recorded, and it is growing faster each year. During that same time, a general warming of the planet has been noted because CO2obviously acts as a GHG that increases heat in the atmosphere. Figure 3 - Law Dome Historical Ice Core CO2 Samples 75 Years Smoothed Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratories Soviet era scientists also engaged in Antarctic ice core sampling. In one of their studies, a 160,000 year record was identified in the Vostok ice core samples, taken in the Eastern Antarctic. The extensive Vostok ice-core sample provides correlation between pre-industrial CO2 levels and rising post-industrial CO2. It also provides cyclic changes evident over a period of approximately 21 thousand years, in line with orbital procession(Barnola, et al., 1987). 20
  22. 22. CO2 Projections to the 22nd Century The projections of CO2 emissions through the remainder of the 21st century are substantial. Even with efforts to mitigate emissions, the ramifications imply increased temperatures which mean the planet will continue to shed ice. A recent study led by Nadine Unger of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), breaks down CO2 emissions by expected sector release through to 2013. In this way, it is hoped a more intuitive understanding of which human activities may be creating the most significant amount of CO2 emissions through the rest of the 21st century. The result of the finding is that ground transportation is likely to be the single most significant source of CO2 emissions through the rest of the 21st century. 21
  23. 23. Figure 4 - GISS CO2 Emissions to 2100 by Category Source : http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100218a/ As transportation continues to fuel the global economy, our structures related to logistics and supply chains are constantly reinforcing land based on-road transportation. As the tonnage of goods interchanged across global supply chains continues to grow, it seems likely that securing increasingly efficient transportation alternatives compared to current day fossil fuel transportation will continue to grow in importance. 22
  24. 24. Figure 5 - Climate Impacts to 2100 by Industry Mw Source : http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100218a/ It can also be argued that by understanding the sector where we can anticipate the greatest expansion of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, we can more effectively create alternative models to move our goods through our global supply chain with ever increasing fuel efficiency and alternative fuels, something that is now starting to emerge with the rise of inland ports and fuel efficient rail to truck transportation infrastructure. That said, the on-road component is mainly encouraged by the design of the automobile society and the proverbial urban commute. As mass transportation and metropolitan design reduces the requirement of people to undertake 23
  25. 25. commuting, the global impact of CO2 emissions can be significantly reduced, or at least the rate of growth can be limited. Subsurface Sedimentary Samples Another interesting branch of research examines the occurrence of multiple rare isotope substitutions in biologically precipitated carbonate materials. This method is yielding information to researchers studying subsurface sedimentary samples in different locations. Using the approach of carbonate clumped isotope thermometry; researchers developan understanding of past climates. Research conducted and currently under review was done to gather a marker based on the Early Pliocene era when CO2 levels were at levels near levels recorded in recent years (the 365415ppm range). Research to analyze temperatures during that period were conducted at the Early Pliocene Beaver Pond site on Ellesmere Island and the results indicate it was between 1118 C warmer than present day temperatures in the May-Sep timeframe(Csank, et al., n.d.). Extending our understanding of biologically precipitated carbonate materials has considerable value as an important component to understanding the past and current status of the oceans. Oceanic content of CO2 is about fifty times larger than the atmosphere and about ten times larger than estimates of plant and soil carbon sinks. This is such a massive number because the oceanic reservoir is so vast and CO2 diffuses across the air-sea boundary into seawater(Field, et al., 2004). The ocean is the largest carbon sink on our planet. Rising Sea Surface Temperatures Rising sea surface temperatures (SST) contribute to the amount of available atmospheric water vapor and this, of course, impacts global climate conditions. The amount of SST change is part of the complex global climate equation also impacted by aggregate planetary glacial coverage 24
  26. 26. (APGC). In addition to the Arctic and Antarctic, APGC is recession. The loss of ice across the Arctic, Himalayas, and Antarctic (AHA) and other parts of the globe are cause to strongly consider that increased moisture availability combined with atmospheric forcing; along with decreased polar ice size constitutes part of a PFL that in addition to raising sea levels, may accelerate the rate of SST increases(Bony, et al., 1997). SST impacts oceanic environment and global climate systems in ways that may be difficult to quantify, but there is little doubt all of these issues are growing to create a nexus of scientific evidence that supports the reality that completely modeling the entirety of the planet climate is likely as close to an impossible task as would be humanly possible, but understanding that SST’s accelerate climate change would generate little argument. Ocean Acidification Ocean acidification poses a considerable issue as well. As carbon dioxide levels rise, the planetary mechanisms to overcome this are what we call carbon sinks. Carbon sinks take many forms from the jungles of the Amazon to trees in our own backyard. The largest carbon sinks, as previously outlined, are the oceans. As more carbon dioxide enters the ocean, the parts of hydrogen (pH) are reduced in a normal chemical process. This process is akin to the respiratory system of a human being. Human pH range is normally 7.35 to 7.45 which is measured with an arterial blood sample and is directly correlated to carbon monoxide levels which are regulated by the cardiopulmonary system. Failure to maintain the proper pH range in the blood can result in serious medical issues and can even potentially result in death. We do not know precisely what the range is for normal oceanic health, but it is safe to assume there will be substantial complications should pH move beyond normal levels. In the case of the 25
  27. 27. ocean, reduced pH is called acidification. In a human patient, this would be called acidosis. In both cases, serious consequences are likely results. Because the Oceans represent the largest carbon sink on the Earth, the importance of the Oceans to CO2 removal cannot be understated. It has been suggested that since the industrial revolution, oceans have become approximately 30% more acidic, with some scientists suggesting that level could rise dramatically by the end of the 21st century. Oceanic acidification effectively interrupts the ability of a wide variety of oceanic life to produce protective shells through the use of calcium carbonate. This, in turn, negatively impacts the calcifying organisms’ ability to reproduce and is known to have negative health impacts on numerous organisms. Phytoplankton andvarious species of invertebrates like sponges, mollusks, worms, and crustaceans are all affected. These impacts modify and shift mobile undersea life forms as they adapt and/or move in response to acidification. This, in turn, impacts the rest of the food chain and can have a negative impact on indigenous subsistence, culture, and traditions as sea life patterns shift to adapt and survive. Different global locations report ―bleaching‖ of coral reefs and this is widely understood to be a result of the thermal tolerance of corals and their photosynthetic symbionts (zooxanthellae) being exceeded(Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999). Changes in sea temperatures accelerate this process and large scale coral reef bleaching events are likely to become even more common place events over the next few decades. Most researchers believe the ability to adapt will not be fast enough to avoid a severe declination of coral reefs in the planetary oceans, resulting in an enormous decline in the health of the Earth’s reefs. This is likely to be very pronounced and could cause significant problems, especially for tropical marine ecosystems. 26
  28. 28. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AAMAP) released a statement through the Arctic Council that points to an Arctic that is rapidly accumulating CO2which is leading to an accelerated rate of acidification. This is a particularly challenging situation because CO2 is more readily absorbed into cold water and the addition of the freshwater content due to the melting glacial ice is reducing the ability of the ocean to neutralize the acidification process.Because Arctic food chains are relatively simple, it is thought the Arctic will sustain dramatic changes at an accelerated rate compared to many other parts of the World.(Council, 2013) Arctic ecosystem changes are taking place at an accelerated rate compared to many other parts of the World. It is thought the changes taking place on numerous fronts across the Circumpolar World are likely to cross a threshold that would cause irreversible changes to entire ecosystems, environmental processes, and thus, have dramatic impact on Arctic societies.(Centre, 2013) 27
  29. 29. The Great Ocean Conveyor System The great ocean conveyor systemhas long been known to distribute warm and cold water globally. Figure 6 - Great Ocean Conveyor Belt Source: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/ocean/circulation.htm 28
  30. 30. The traditional ocean conveyor is thought to be integrally involved with global weather patterns. In 2009, Duke University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute announced what they believe to be a challenge to the way we think about the great ocean conveyor system(Woods Hole, 2009). The complete function of the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt is not entirely understood although it is widely believed to be of considerable importance to global climate conditions. Figure 7 - North Atlantic Circulation Source: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/legrande_01/ As new science is emerging, it is likely this system will also be found to have considerable effect on what happens with global climate change. As surface and near surface water temperatures continue to rise, it is impossible to predict what impact this will have on the Great Ocean Conveyer Belt and how it may interact with other aspects of Global Climate Change. The science relative to this system is still relatively new. How Climate Change impacts the Conveyer and vice-versa is an area of science only relatively recently 29
  31. 31. explored.Fundamentally, it is understood that thermohaline currents have a significant impact on the constant motion of the Great Ocean Conveyer Belt(NOAA, 2013). Cold water has higher salinity properties and is denser than warm water. As such, the cold salty water sinks to the bottom while warm less dense water rises. As the Gulf Stream warm water heats the atmosphere in the northern latitudes, the heat coming out of the water causes the northern waters to cool and, therefore, sink. Warm water from the Gulf Stream displaces the colder waters. As the conveyormakes its way south closer to the bottom of the ocean and near Antarctica, the waters are quite cold. These waterseventually warm as they move through the tropics on their way north, thus rising to the surface. It is estimated that it takes approximately a millennia for the water to make a complete circle of the globe. In the grand scheme of things, there is no way of predicting if an interruption of the Great Ocean Conveyer Belt is likely to occur, but it is presumed that if it does occur, the ramifications to the global climate could be quite dramatic. It is possible that a shifting of the Great Ocean Conveyer Belt could precipitate an extremely cold period across the northern latitudes. The Jet Stream Impact As scientists examine the jet stream and the impact that climate change is having on the jet stream, there evolved a possible explanation of the enormous size of the high pressure weather system that was trapped over the Greenland Ice Sheet. This is thought to be related to unusual changes in the jet stream, in particular, related to the increasing peaks and troughs. The wave contours of jet stream look a bit like a wavy line until they compress and elongate, taking the shape of a compressed amplitude signal. This phenomenon tends to allow storms to linger in place rather than moving more rapidly across their normal west to east route across the continents. 30
  32. 32. Dr. Jennifer Francis, a climate researcher from Rutgers University, has spent the last 15 years specializing in the study of how the atmosphere is affected by the changes in the Arctic climate and in particular, examining the changes due to massive losses of Arctic ice. Her research and that of other scientists has created in interesting view of how climate change, and in particular, how Arctic climate change is impacting the jet stream and how that, in turn, impacts the weather in the Northern Hemisphere. Warming of the Arctic, according to her hypothesis,suggests a general weakening of the jet stream.As the jet stream weakens, it compresses the wave like patterns and lengthens the patterns on a north south direction. These phenomena, ostensibly caused by warming arctic temperatures, can contribute to the exacerbation of blocking patterns. As blocking patterns become stronger, the conditions such as the high pressure ―warm‖ air that held fast over the Greenland Ice Sheet, was there long enough and strong enough to cause a huge acceleration of surface melt to the point where almost the entire surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet was under some level of melt. During periods of a normal jet stream, this would be unheard of. As the jet stream tightens up and lengthens out, there will be further distribution of exacerbations of normal weather conditions. The cold can go further south just as the heat may go further north. The waves in the jet stream also tend to become elongated with the peaks of the waves extending further north.This research indicates we can expect weather patterns to slow, which means extreme weather may tend to linger longer, thereby exacerbating weather events. If it’s a drought, it may stay dry longer, likewise, if it’s a snowstorm, it may snow longer and harder. If it's a rain event, the rain could last longer in a single area, creating enormous overcapacity for river basins and, hence, creating increased potential for flooding. These observations also have ramifications for accelerating the ice melt in the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere. 31
  33. 33. Interestingly, Dr. Francis superimposed the high level jet stream data onto maps that correlate to times when recent major storm events, such as recent hurricanes and other large and unusually powerful storm events in recent years. Her initial finding was a very strong correlation to these elongated wave patterns as predicted by her theory. Even the recent flooding of 2013 in Alberta, when I pulled the data for the jet stream, showed the same wave form pattern, called Rossby Waves, were present in the rocky mountains to the west of Alberta in the days immediately before and during the onset of flooding events.(Groat, 2013) Yucatan Current & Gulf Stream Probably the first time the Gulf Stream was accurately mapped out, it was done by Benjamin Franklin. Because of the Gulf Stream, areas such as the British Isles enjoy moderated temperatures, especially during the winter months, causing temperatures to be relatively moderate. Scientists are investigating what appears to be a reduction in the Gulf Stream, and more importantly, how the Gulf Stream may possibly impact the Jet Stream, especially in the North Atlantic. Interruption of the Gulf Stream can be caused by a number of reasons, but there is no clear and identifiable obvious data set that can prove precisely why there are changes in the Gulf Stream that has caused it to start shifting normal flow patterns. Some researchers have suggested the massive amounts of COREXIT used as a disbursement agent on the oil spill caused from the infamous accident on the Deepwater Horizon. Numerous studies have been conducted; one of the findings was that while the disbursement seemed to function, it created smaller droplets of oil that moved in a large plume at depths in the Gulf. It is thought, by some, that there may be some possibility that unknown effects from the Deepwater Horizon and the chemicals used may have played a part in interrupting more than 32
  34. 34. expected. COREXITapplication is thought to have generated significant enough outcomes and to have generated sufficient sized undersea oil plumes to interfere with the Gulf Stream and, by extrapolation, this could impact the ocean conveyor system. There were also concerns raised about deepwater deployment of COREXIT. When the undersea oil plum was discovered, researchers sampled different depths including the depth where they encountered the oil plume, pronounced between 1,100 and 1,300 meters. When the content of the plumes were sent for analysis, the findings showed a heavy concentration of six hydrocarbons out of more than one hundred compounds tested for. As it turned out, a preponderance of six petroleum hydrocarbon compounds were found: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes—a group commonly known as BTEX. Understanding why these BTEX was present and many other chemicals were not caused researchers to expect thousands of compounds from the Deepwater Horizon petroleum rose toward the surface while the BTEX compounds seemed to find a depth of between about 1,100 and 1,300 meter deep and then started to move laterally as a plume. BTEX compounds’ chemical structure, which gives them their characteristic properties. They all have one benzene ring (six carbons in a hexagon, with three double bonds). That made them more likely to dissolve in water than straight-chained hydrocarbons.In oil spills at the sea surface, BTEXs can quickly evaporate into the air. But released deep down and far from the atmosphere, BTEXs have time to dissolve into the ocean water before having a chance to evaporate. The compounds, which are known to be toxic to living things, were not degraded by bacteria but rather remained in the deep. That raises new questions about the potential for harmful ecological impacts from the spill.(WHOI, 2011). In addition to the questions about harmful ecological effects, some have speculated that these plumes may have had a blunting impact on the gulf stream. If that were true, northern latitude 33
  35. 35. locations such as London could be subject to climate change acceleration if the strength of the Gulf Stream deteriorates. If that has any impact upon the Jet Stream, still further unwinding environmental consequences begin to unfold. These conceptual ideas are fascinating to consider, but the hard science is simply not available in a larger sense. Strength and direction changes of the Gulf Stream, however, can be documented by consulting Gulf Stream comparisons at the NOAA National Weather Service Ocean Prediction Center. Recent concerns project a changing Gulf Stream may be contributing to a warming of intermediate depth ocean temperatures which are destabilizing 2.5 gigatonnes of methane hydrate, which if felt to be a fraction of the methane hydrates destabilizing globally.(Phrampus, 2012) COP18 – DOHA UN Report on Permafrost Thawing As global leaders descended on Doha for the COP18 meetings, the United Nations Climate Programme announced new findings relative to permafrost thawing and the need to review the ramifications of CO2 and methane release as a result of widespread observed permafrost melting. In addition to an understanding of what impacts permafrost thawing will have on infrastructure in the Arctic, there is also a concern that the rates of GHG release as a result of permafrost thawing could cause global CO2 agreements to be understated by considerable amounts, perhaps as much as 40% understated(UN, 2012). There are different ways to monitor permafrost status, with two networks providing most of the terrestrial data. The Thermal State of Permafrost (TSP) network examines permafrost temperatures in 860 boreholes while the Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) measures the thickness of the active layers of permafrost at 260 sites. 34
  36. 36. Accordingly, when goals are negotiated, there are early signals that the agreements sought, and argued over, may in fact be proposals that are almost half as much as they should be. In short, the goals related to CO2 emissions are not adjusted to account for the additional GHG’s brought on by the emissions of additional CO2. While the outcome of the COP18 meetings were generally thought to be disappointing, the emergence of a new dialogue about the insufficiency of overall targets due to the extraordinarily large underestimation of permafrost methane release should result in a considerable expansion of baseline goals at the 2015 meeting in Copenhagen. In addition to the underestimation of GHG release due to insufficient accounting for methane (CO4) release due to terrestrial permafrost instability.The evidence of climate change driven large storm events continues to grow and solidify across both the scientific community and the insurance industry and the mainstream public. As this grows,GHG emission targets and negotiating positions will need to be well thought out long before the international community assembles in Copenhagen for the next round of talks. It may be that subsea methane release may also have atmospheric consequences in addition to the obvious impact of oceanic acidification and these matters might find their way into the Copenhagen discussions. Permafrost Positive Feedback Loop The GHG’s that are emitted as a result of melting permafrost feed into a positive feedback look. As more permafrost melts, greater amounts of GHG’s are released which in turn, continue to amplify the effect through the Permafrost Positive Feedback Loop (PPFL). This is one component of a larger Planetary Scale Positive Feedback Loop (PSPFL). While the rate and amount of GHG’s released from melting permafrost are difficult to predict due the infancy of this data observation and the longitudinal time frames required to understand, with any great degrees of certainty, the precise and growth rate of the issue. Estimates show an 35
  37. 37. increase of GHG release due to PSPFL release combined with anthropogenic forcing could drive CO2ppm to extraordinarily high levels within, geologically speaking, a very short window of time. The consequences for climate cannot be known, but the changes already being seen and felt certainly seem to be suggestive this matter is worth some of our finest scientific minds. When the estimated GHG release is considerably larger than anticipated, this compounds policy issuesthrough the realization that these emissions were not calculated into Kyoto targets. Again, the Doha COP18 meetings have not taken these quantities into policy considerations as targets either. Emerging science is a cause for the significant realignment of the urgency of the overall issue. If anything, there is substantial cause to give the scientific community and global policy forums a new source of GHG’s to consider when establishing targets. Of note, the TSP and CALM network observations are showing that permafrost temperatures have risen over the past few decades and indicate a massive thawing of permafrost may already be underway. Intrinsic knowledge and observations by indigenous people confirm this finding and undersea estimates of methane hydrate release are all entering into the equations of overall GHG emissions. Planetary Scale Positive Feedback Loop Larger open sea areas erode more land, reduces ice surface increases heat, emission of methane and carbon dioxide creates more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, the planet reacts with carbon sinks, this creates more acidification of oceans, and the entire cycle feeds on itself in a planetary scale positive feedback loop. The combination of these things and other things, probably some still unknown, will continue to create what we call an amplification process; this will be particularly noted in the higher latitudes, and in particular, the Arctic. All of these things create scientific challenges and point towards a 36
  38. 38. real need for political acceptance of the science and the beginning of a serious effort to begin concrete plans for adaptation to the coming acceleration of global climate changes. These changes, quite naturally, will present in Canada where it is assumed they will take the form of wetter Spring and Summer months, increased high temperature events plus more and more dramatic storm events. Winter months could be warmer initially, and depending on conveyer changes and La Niña and El Niño weather patterns, it could become colder; there is some debate about overall snowfall. A shifting of the ocean conveyer system is thought to have ramifications that could change prevailing winds and currents, possibly shifting the northern latitudes into a significant cooling period with large scale storm events gaining momentum to compressed Rossby wave forms in the jet stream. PART II ARCTIC CLIMATE CHANGE Rate of Change in the Arctic Climate change in the Arctic happens faster than anywhere on the planet, a scientific fact that finds little dispute from any group. For many years, it has been described as the canary in the coal mine(Michaels, 2004). As circumpolar leaders and experts met at the Arctic Imperative Summit, the recession of Arctic ice, a.k.a. the ice melt, had exceeded 2007 levels (NSIDC, 2012). 37
  39. 39. Figure 8 - 2012 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Source : http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-seaicemin.html While the Arctic shows evidence of global climate change at a faster rate than other areas, it also presents a very attractive subject for research and study. There is room to expand the interdisciplinary aspect of the many scientific fields studying climate change impacts in the high Arctic, but this is offset by the difficulty and expense of reaching Arctic areas for the purpose of conducting scientific research(Hinzmon, 2005). Further visualizations of the Arctic Sea Ice minimum provide insight into the extent of the sea ice loss in the Arctic which creates a large dark area to absorb more solar radiation, and of course, provides a growing area of single year ice that has greater propensity to melt faster. 38
  40. 40. Figure 9 - Polar Visualization of Sea Ice Minimum 2012 Source : http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-seaicemin.html The challenges are real, the Arctic is changing quickly, and projections of increased economic activity in the Circumpolar World seem inevitable. Recognition of the consequences of accelerating climate change for Arctic environments will aid the voices advocating for more research funding on the part of the entire Circumpolar World and beyond. Swedish researchers note a generalized loss of cold winters and cool summers while noting more extreme precipitation events. Their understanding of the rate of climate change has led them to focus on adaptation strategy. Like many entities, the circumpolar governments and regional stakeholders are turning more and more energy to the adaptation process(Callaghan, et al., 2010). In the eyes of all the circumpolar nations, the debate as to if the climate is changing is long gone. The conversation is now about how best to adapt since their part of the planet will be impacted fastest. 39
  41. 41. Reduction of Arctic Ice The reduction of Arctic Ice creates a variety of issues and opportunities. The issue from the standpoint of ice melting is that polar ice reflects light (and heat). As the ice melts, the dark water surface absorbs more heat, this creates faster temperature rise which, in turn, causes the ice melt to occur at a faster rate. This kind of feedback system, or PFL, is one of many components that impact global climate change. In addition, water on top of the ice pack also creates more rapid heat absorption because it creates a dark area on the ice surface that absorbs more heat. While melting Arctic ice does not cause sea levels to rise, much like a melting ice cube in a glass of water does not cause the level of liquid in the glass to rise; it does create warmer temperatures which cause other circumpolar ice to melt. As large amounts of land based ice melt, like the Greenland Ice Shelf, that does introduce more water into the ocean, which does raise sea levels. As Arctic ice minimums continue to advance, creating more dark water, the ramifications impact not only the acceleration of temperature change, but it also creates young ice areas which require less energy to melt during subsequent melting cycles. The National Snow and Ice Data Center tracks daily changes in the Arctic ice cover. The Arctic ice recedes yearly through melting during the warm months, typically stopping its recession around the end of September when it becomes cold enough for the ice coverage to begin extending again. In 2012, the Arctic ice minimum was found to be at the lowest levels since this data has been tracked by satellite(NSIDC, 2012). The Greenland Ice Sheet The Greenland Ice Sheet is a massive land based ice deposit. This vast area of ice is starting to undergo rapid melting cycles. While this has been noted by scientists for many years, the rapid acceleration of Greenland’s ice combined with additional complicating factors, are only recently emerging as an environmental issue that is starting to command global interest. 40
  42. 42. Unusual weather patterns noted in 2012 include the U.S. drought, and a sudden widespread surface melt event impacting the Greenland Ice Sheet. This set of circumstances, known as a heat dome, occurs when the jet stream patterns keep cooler air to the north which, in turn, allows warmer air from the Gulf stream to rise up to Greenland. The phenomena, in July of 2012, caused a rapid spread of surface melt in Greenland, extending the area from about 40% of Greenland’s surface to nearly complete coverage over the course of just four days. Typically, the maximum surface melt area in Greenland during the hottest point of the summer is around 50%. The scope of these phenomena are certainly attention getting, but there is also evidence this may be part of a cyclical event. While there is not enough evidence to suggest this predicts an impending catastrophic ice loss and resultant accelerated rates of sea level rise, it certainly warrants further investigation and attention. If instability and accelerating melting takes place on the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Antarctic, the level of sea rise could be far faster than was originally thought. It seems like scientists continue to be surprised each year as the rate of change exceeds the predictive components of their models. If there is a tipping point and the largest of the land based glaciers melt into the ocean, we would have sea levels that are several meters higher than they are now. Under the most prepared scenario, it is hard to imagine to what extent such an impact would damage global trading patterns. Imagery of Greenland Satellite Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellite taken between 2002 and 2008, demonstrate that Greenland has been losing approximately 195 cubic kilometers of ice per year. A large section of the Peterman glacier, some 130 square kilometers, 41
  43. 43. broke off due to the high temperatures, but since this section was already floating on the ocean, it will not contribute to rising sea levels. That said, as similar weather patterns repeat in conjunction with rising average air temperatures, the rate of melt on land is likely to grow. In 2012, the cumulative melt days exceeded 120 days in low elevation areas and melt extent was greater than 100 days in far north areas. This has not occurred previously in the last century and ice core samples show it has only happened a few times over the last millennia. Figure 10 - Greenland Ice Melt Cumulative Days 2012 Source: http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/2013/02/greenland-melting-2012-in-review/ 42
  44. 44. Ice melt rate is also affected by other factors, including airborne particulates raining out over the ice sheet causing dark spots. Images of these dark spotsevoke an interest in knowing if, from a hydrological perspective, they are isolated from glacial sub surface water. The dark holes appear to be bore holes. These holes initially absorb solar energy at a higher rate causing an increase in the rate of melt in these dark holes. Figure 11 - Cryoconites (Black Holes) in ice Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/PaintedGlaciers/page3.php As the holes get deeper, the rate of deepening begins to rescind as the exposure angle to the sun decreases, and at some point the rate of melt equalizes with surrounding ice. As these holes create a matrix of higher melt points, they become increasingly subject to interrelationships with under surface fissures and fractures of the major ice sheets. To the extent these many drain into large ice sheet fractures and lubricate the glacier contact points with land, the rate of progression of land based ice and land contact points tends to create an opportunity for ice to shift and move, probably a lot sooner than it otherwise would have. 43
  45. 45. Particulates that absorb heat like black carbon, vanillic acid, and sulphur that fall on the Greenland Ice Shelf create the aforementioned dark areas creating bore holes. These particulate driven bore holes are called cryoconite holes. Cyroconite holes have been widely reported by glaciologists, especially those who study the Greenland Ice Shelf. It is thought, based on the chemical composition of the soot, that much of it comes from coal burning plants in Asia; this is based on assumptions of wind conditions and observable fallout patterns. Figure 12 - Ice Melt on Greenland Ice Shelf Source: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2008/greenland_speedup.html Rivers of water are also noted with massive drop offs into large crevasse structures. It’s the combination of rising surface temperatures and particulate fallout from high emission industrial output that creates what appears to be an accelerated migration of surface water to the ice bedrock interface(Zwally, et al., 2002). 44
  46. 46. It may also be presumed these holes contribute integrity challenges to the ice sheet, probably creating larger areas that break off as the ice sheet approaches the ocean. Other chemical compositions suggest some of the soot is due to massive forest fires in other parts of the globe, another by-product of climate change as large forested areas undergo significant drought during the summer months, hence creating ideal conditions for large forest fires. Ice core samples reveal coal soot particulate content in the Arctic can be correlated to the maximum effect of the industrialization of the period from 1906 to 1910 (McConnell, 2007)and note thermal temperature rises eight times larger than the pre-industrialization age. Much of the sootexamined from ice core samples on the Greenland Ice Sheet during that time frame is thought to have derived from the United States and Canada. Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf Carbon Deposits and Methane Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf Carbon Deposits of methane and carboniferous materials on Arctic coastal areas also represent a considerable store of materials that have potential to release GHGemissions that will continue to accelerate the rate of climate change. The Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) covers approximately 7,000 kilometers with significant outcroppings of complex ancient ice deposits rich in carboniferous materials in addition to substantial quantities of shallow subsea permafrost. This exists throughout the entire Arctic region, but the ESAS is by far the most proliferous area. 45
  47. 47. Figure 13 - Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf Source: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov As climate change creates larger open water areas in the Arctic for longer periods of time, erosion of these shelves increase the releaseof these carboniferous materials into the ocean. Microbial consumption of these materials produces carbon dioxide and methane. The release of carbon dioxide and methane vent to the atmosphere. Massive deposits of methane hydrates are also known to exist in the form of methane hydrates are trapped in a frozen state beneath the Arctic tundra. Coastal erosion due to increased tidal activity combined with warming will bring these coastline and sea based deposits to the mix. Since methane has approximately 20-23 times greater impact on warming, meaning it traps much more heat, the ramifications of large scale emissions of methane into the atmosphere further exacerbate the PFL effect. Because methane dissipates relatively quickly, the overall impact of methane release may not have enormous impact on overall global average temperatures (Kvenvolden, 1988) in and of itself, taken together with other components in a PSPFT, the impact could be magnified significantly. 46
  48. 48. If technology existed to easily capture methane from the Arctic tundra, the sheer quantity of deposits might help to accelerate the economic viability of methane production. Because it is a very efficient fuel, there is little doubt that an economic model to capture methane would be of serious interest to various stakeholders in the Arctic, especially those who would be in a position to benefit from profitable resource development. Capturing the methane before it escapes into the atmosphere would prevent a GHG some 20+ times more potent than CO2 from contributing its effects to climate change. But the numerous challenges of getting to the resource and then fielding the technology to capture it present challenges that may render this option uneconomic. PART III –WILDLIFE Changing Patterns Intuit knowledge of Arctic wildlife supports the health and wellbeing of their various communities. Indigenous settlement of the Arctic is considerable, with over four million people living in the Arctic. Of the four million, about ten percent, or around four hundred thousand are indigenous. Yet their presence in the Arctic has been established for thousands of years. Indigenous knowledge of the wildlife patterns often extends across centuries. This longitudinal knowledge creates a unique understanding of how patterns establish, change, and then reestablish in the Arctic. While the indigenous peoples are worried that increased development of the Arctic will bring many influences that will place pressure on wildlife and ultimately result in changed patterns, one of the chief concerns of the indigenous people is that the cycle of patterns may not be repeated. It’s difficult to predict what the wildlife will do and if the patterns that have been established and re-established over the centuries will be re-established going forward. 47
  49. 49. Seals and Walrus Seal is one of the most important sources of Arctic diets. Not only are seals plentiful, their skin provides excellent clothing and their meat is considered to be far more than just a staple of the local diet, it is considered to have medicinal qualities. One of the facts we know about ringed seals is that they rarely come on land. They need ice to survive and as the ice breakup comes earlier, the young ringed seals become separated from their parents at an earlier age. In addition to this vulnerability, the seals will need to migrate to where the ice is. This may have negative repercussions for subsistence hunters. If the ringed seals are reduced in numbers, there will likely be a cascading effect on the entire food chain of the Arctic, especially on Polar Bears as seal is a mainstay of their diet. It is likely the ringed seals will continue a migration towards the pole as summer ice extent shrinks. If there is no ice in the Arctic during a portion of the year, the ringed seals will either adapt by hauling themselves out of the water or they could experience great difficulty. Whales When Intuit narwhal hunts that once provided 50 narwhal bring the community only 3 narwhal, everybody takes notice. Intuit and Dene people have noted an increase in the variability and unpredictability of seasonal climate patterns. In addition to unpredictable behaviour patterns, the health of wildlife is a large concern for the Intuit just as are the smaller harvests of narwhal. Narwhal are particularly sensitive to climate change because their migratory patterns revolve around ice flow patterns. As the ice breaks up earlier, their patterns also change. This combined with the increasing numbers of killer whales, which prey on narwhales, is putting pressure on narwhale populations. 48
  50. 50. Inuit also believe narwhales are very sensitive to manmade noise, causing them to seek shallow water and remain immobile. This also makes them easier prey for killer whales. The combination of increased predation and the probability of increased manmade vessel traffic in the Arctic are likely to create increasing pressure on narwhale populations. Accelerated climate change is critical to the Intuit ability to undertake subsistence hunting and fishing, a way of life that has sustained their people for thousands of years (Krupnik & Jolly, 2002). In addition to the unusual migration patterns exhibited by wildlife, the Intuit themselves are finding it harder to use environmental indicators known for generations to predict weather and assist in hunting and travel over sea ice. These techniques are no longer working. Depending on circumstances, sometimes the ice is not thick enough to stand safely upon. As these and other factors sustain increased variability, Intuit prosperity through subsistence hunting has been diminished. Some aspects of life in the Arctic have started to change. For instance, the bowhead whales have been off limits for many decades because they were hunted nearly to the brink of extinction. Historically, the bowhead whales have provided much needed utilities for subsistence hunters including the best quality of oil for heat and light, the rib and jaw bones were traditionally used for roof supports, vertebrae for tools, and baleen could be used to lash together sleds. While it has been many decades since the Bowhead was hunted, there have been some controlled hunts in recent years. In the past, one bowhead might have provided enough for a small Intuit community to survive for an entire year. Beluga whales are also an important part of the Inuit culture and provide protein, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids. Beluga is an important source of food for the Inuit and can be found in greatest numbers in the high arctic and western arctic. While the numbers of Beluga are still 49
  51. 51. strong and their vulnerability to climate change is not yet known, the one thing we do know is that they are susceptible to contaminants and pollution, and the meat of the beluga reveals growing levels of contamination. Caribou and Muskox Caribou have been an important part of the indigenous diet for millennia. The large herds have provided indigenous people with important sources of food and skins for clothing. "We don't know if the caribou are going to keep behaving the way they always did in the past. There is a lot of development that is going to happen on the land with mines and tourists coming to the new park [Auluetok National Park]. This will affect all of the caribou and mainly the females ready to calve. It could change the places they use during the year creating different patterns that will be hard for indigenous hunters to predict. The same thing will happen with the seals and whales or walrus because of the ships that will be coming to the north. Even Inuit will cause problems if our communities get too big and we make more noise or garbage and smells than before."(Grace M. Egeland, 2012) During an interview about climate change impact, a northern resident, Mr. Charlie Snowshoe, pointed out that recently, the Caribou had moved south towards their traditional calving grounds, but when the weather changed dramatically, warming the area, they began to return to more northern locations. The weather essentially impacted their sense of where they needed to be. This, in turn, created difficulties for the herd as the weather again changed and they were no longer in the right area for their calving season and they did not go back there. It was estimated this had a hugely negative impact on the caribou birth rate in the area that caused a significant decrease in herd population. 50
  52. 52. Muskox live in certain portions of the Arctic and hunting them is limited. Although Muskox is an excellent source of food, the impact of climate change for Muskox could well be positive if predators are not increased in numbers. It is thought that increasingly warmer temperatures will provide Muskox with longer and greater access to their food sources, which could assist in their population growth. Salmon and Char Arctic char is generally considered a freshwater fish, although there are some that are seaborne and some that are landlocked freshwater char. They are a member of the salmon family and have been a staple of the Intuit for centuries. Char can be frozen, dried, smoked, aged, or cooked fresh. The versatility of Arctic char has made it an important part Arctic survival. How char will respond to climate change, however, is still largely unknown. Perhaps there will be unexpected challenges from migrating species. For example, in the waters near Pond Inlet some Pacific salmon have been harvested in nets along with char. Pacific salmon are rarely encountered east of Alaska in the Arctic, so landing them in Pond Inlet is an example of the migratory patterns and range changes that may have implications for local wildlife. Polar Bears Scientists undertaking regionalized studies in the Southern Beaufort area have examined to correlation between sea ice minimums and ice free periods have a correlative pattern that demonstrates survival and breeding probabilities decline with extended ice free periods (Regehr EV, 2010). Hunters in the area have extensive intrinsic knowledge of this. In collaboration with scientists, the local hunters contribute their own knowledge and as part of the indigenous stewardship, female polar bears with cubs are not taken during hunting. 51
  53. 53. One question of interest relates to permanent emigration of Polar Bears, but radio telemetry studies show a high degree of fidelity to a specific territory. While extensive emigration has not been noted, there have been instances of bi-directional emigration of species. Indigenous people now believe there has been interbreeding between Polar Bears and Grizzly Bears, calling the offspring Pizzly Bears. There has not been enough research to determine if climate change has driven this phenomena or not, but there is observable evidence of this taking place. With Polar Bears dependent on ice for hunting, the rapid melting and extended ice free periods have been projected to assume a species extinction of Polar Bears by the year 2100, but it seems likely the species can adapt. Perhaps if adaptation takes place, part of that adaptation may be a result of the interbreeding between different bear species. Waterfowl and Birds Intuit hunters have long history of knowing when and where geese will return to their summer grounds. But in the last few years they have been reporting the seasons have changed. They once knew exactly what days they needed to arrive at a particular site to hunt. Now the geese are returning earlier and it is no longer easy for the hunters to know exactly when to go. This creates difficulties for the indigenous hunter along with nesting changes. Eggs from waterfowl and other birds are part of the Inuit diet. As Inuit hunters find the migratory patterns and ranges of various species of waterfowl and birds are changing, they will need to adapt to the changing patterns of migration. If the ranges change significantly, this will have very different consequences as part of the indigenous diet may be excluded because it may become too far for the Intuit to travel in order to secure it. Commercial Fishing 52
  54. 54. As the ice free zone in the Arctic extends, there is an increasing availability to international zones, those areas outside of exclusive economic zones (EEZ). There is a very large area in the Arctic that falls outside the EEZ’s of the various Arctic nations. The area that falls outside of Arctic EEZ’s is commonly referred to as the Arctic doughnut hole. The Arctic doughnut hole is a vast area where international fishing may take place without having to be in compliance with any national laws, but rather, governed by international agreements. Unilateral actions may be taken by nations concerned about commercial overfishing in the Arctic by closing down their own territorial waters to commercial fishing. In 2009, the United States closed nearly all of the U.S. Arctic Ocean to commercial fishing with the support of Alaskan Native leaders, scientists, and the commercial fishing industry citing a need to gather sufficient information to understand the impacts of commercial fishing in the Arctic which is widely thought to be quite sensitive due to the relatively short food chain in comparison to tropical waters(Pew, 2013). PART IVARCTIC POLITICAL ECONOMY Arctic Political Economy – North America The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is very important for the circumpolar nations and the relevance goes well beyond shipping just as it applies to more than just circumpolar nations. The prospect of an ice free Arctic is very attractive for organizations that ship goods. It’s also important to organizations that are engaged in resource acquisition and exploitation in the circumpolar north. As nations move to stake their claim in the Arctic, international recognition of territory is undergoing considerable debate, these issues are based on extensions of continental shelves 53
  55. 55. andupon exclusive economic zones (EEZ). Beneficiaries to the political processes will receive substantial economic opportunities, economic growth, and resource expansion. The intertwined fabric of politics and economics is, perhaps, as clear in the Arctic as any place on Earth, and in few locations in recent history, has more been at stake. The circumpolar nations recognize UNCLOS and although the United States has not ratified it, the United States does recognize it as a codification of customary international law. In other words, the United States follows the provisions of UNCLOS with certain noted exceptions. As demand for Arctic resources increases, the need for corporate interests to have clarity of ownership in the areas beyond current EEZ’s are increasingly important. When examining cultural relationships, the government remains cognizant of key economic drivers, sifting through the countless economic drivers to arrive at the ones which offer the greatest strategic advantages, typically focusing on the ones that offerenergy security and profound economic advantages. This process speaks to the main energy industrial complex of the region. The upstream energy industry complex is located, to some extent, in relative proximity to the circumpolar region. The ability to marshal supplemental energy infrastructure depends largely on geography. The more remote a site, the more difficult to get equipment, human resources, and various support materials to it. This can, however, be brought online with accessible transportation routes and Alaska is a great example with upstream capacity located in Anchorage and supported by infrastructure capacity in the continental United States, much of it in Texas. Canada, as a major player in the Arctic, has limited upstream infrastructure in the high Arctic and relies on Edmonton and Nisku as a gateway area for overland and airborne equipment and 54
  56. 56. infrastructure capacity. Because of rail connections to the major port of Prince Rupert, the same area that Canada enjoys as an Asia Pacific Gateway can also be used as an Arctic Gateway for barge shipments. The economics of having upstream capacity fairly close (relatively speaking) to Arctic operations creates a significant advantage for various areas in Canada. For the high arctic regions of eastern Nunavut, Ontario and Quebec offer proximity. For the western arctic, Alberta's Capital Region, particularly Nisku and the Edmonton area have tremendous access to industrial scale operations, energy industry expertise, equipment manufacturing, pluslarge scale fabrication facilities. The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of the political economy of the Arctic and continues to invest in Arctic infrastructure while working in collaboration with the U.S. to map undersea extensions of the Canadian continental shelf. Once the extension claims are settled, the prospect of an ice free Arctic will bring along with it the propensity of business activities that had previously stayed away. Shipping is one of the more obvious components of an expanding Arctic Political Economy. Savings of time, fuel, and financial resources will help clarify the economic model of the Arctic as the distances between the Asian and European markets shrink dramatically due to an ice free Arctic. Quite naturally, climate change impacts are central to the discussion of economic opportunity. In Alaska, two items exist that are of paramount importance to the state. Alaska has a well invested permanent fund at 48 billion dollars, most of it a result of North Slope oil that filled the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). TAPS is currently operating at about 1/3 capacity; currently slightly over 600,000 barrels a day with TAPS finite capacity of 2.136 million barrels per 55
  57. 57. day(USEIA, 2008). The appetite for new exploration and additional revenues grows as TAPS throughput diminishes, thereby compressing the economic prosperity of the State of Alaska. The overarching interest in Alaska now appears to be centered on expanding North Slopein addition to moving further offshore to gather hydrocarbon resources from the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. In addition to this tactic, Alaskans have been reaching out to Albertans to have a dialogue about building a pipeline to move Alberta synthetic crude via a pipeline that would run West from Alberta and work its way to join up with TAPS, which would fill the pipeline and reinvigorate the port activity at the port of Valdez. Given resistance to pipelines with the Government of British Columbia and numerous first nations on the proposed routes, it might be possible to shift the conversation further north into different political environments where the thought of pipeline construction may be far more readily accomplished. Naturally, pipelines are quite expensive and the less distance they must cover, the more cost effective it is for the developer and operator of the pipeline. But in thinking about a future further down the road, some argue that using a combination of a western pipeline, a U.S. pipeline, and an eastern pipeline would be sufficient to accommodate large scale operations to export synthetic crude oil. The western pipeline being one of the more challenging routes to secure, thinking outside the box and approaching pipeline infrastructure in a different manner might offer corporations a new way to move synthetic oil to thirsty Asian markets. Federal constraints in Alaska Federal Limitations on Alaska constrict the State of Alaska’s ability to explore due to environmental requirements complicated by federal environmental regulations. A stiff federal regulatory environment contrasts with a strong local appetite to open areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). 56
  58. 58. While these regulations create some amount of palpable discord between energy exploration companies, other energy companies are starting to prepare a presence in Alaska in anticipation of improved economic and regulatory conditions relative to the exploration for Arctic oil. ExxonMobil has established a government and public relations presence and is closely monitoring the conditions that exist in the region. There is a ubiquitous sense of economic optimism that permeates the State of Alaska and especially the indigenous owned corporations that have considerable land holdings. Their ability to derive substantial economic benefit is weighed with their interests in preserving their traditional subsistence lifestyle and their traditions. The Arctic Imperative Summit is a unique forum where the indigenous people of Alaska have full participation and an equal voice, this development is supported by the President of Iceland as a new political/diplomatic framework that could be beneficial for all stakeholders. It is also seen as a viable and critical component of future developments in the eyes of the Government of Alaska as they have welcomed this collaborative model. Economic Opportunity Because Arctic sea ice minimums are likely to continue to retract, two specific conditions will present. First, the North Arctic route will become more navigable to large cargo vessels. Second, the Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route will become more navigable to ocean going vessels. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made strong commitments to further develop Russia’s Arctic naval capacity(Nilsen, 2012). 57
  59. 59. Figure 14 - Vladimir Putin Source: http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/4779 Commercially, the prospect of shipping through the Arctic presents considerable economic advantages to shipping companies. In addition to commercial shipping, it is expected that Arctic tourism will continue to grow along with private navigation of these waters. Canada and Russia have the largest extent of Arctic coastal waters and possess considerable Arctic capabilities in oceanic and terrestrial based resources that include oil spill response (OSR) and search and rescue (SAR) assets. Substantial economic development is likely to move forward only with larger capital projects in order to have sufficient payouts. Due to tremendous expenses associated with Arctic development, the larger scales are required to properly incentivize capital investment. It’s widely thought larger shipping vessels would move through the Northern Sea Route. 58
  60. 60. Figure 15 - Northern Route and Northwest Passage Source: http://www.unep.org/yearbook/2003/053.htm As these two options become increasingly viable due to minimum sea ice ranges, the effects of climate change will, as the sea ice minimum recedes, leave younger ice (less thick) and the process of ice recession will accelerate. As shipping routes become more viable, the net economic savings to shipping companies moving goods from the Asian markets and US markets to European markets will become attractive due to the reduced distances and reduction in transit fees through either the Suez Canal or Panama Canal depending on source of emanation. It is important to note, however, that a transitional period will determine commercial insurance costs. The ability of commercial shipping to attain insurance for Trans-Arctic transportation will play a key role in traffic counts. 59

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