Scientific Research Effort in Arctic Cancelled Due to Climate Change
By Andy Rowell
Oh the irony. A scientific expedition examining the effects of climate change has been cancelled because of ... climate change.
The scientific research effort is being led by world leading Arctic specialist, David Barber from the University of Manitoba, who is joined by 40 scientists from five other universities from across Canada.
Together they are are involved in the $17 million four-year Hudson Bay System Study (BaySys) project, in collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard.
According to the University of Manitoba, BaySys "aims to contribute to a scientific basis to understand the relative contributions of climate change and regulation on the Hudson Bay system. The role of freshwater in Hudson Bay will be investigated through field-based experimentation coupled with climatic-hydrological-oceanographic-biogeochemical modeling."
One of the three major parts of the project was this summer's Hudson Bay survey aboard the ice-breaker ship, NGCC Amundsen.
However, worried by the much thicker ice, the scientists had attempted to set off six days early on the first leg of their 133-day expedition. But the hazardous conditions in the bay meant the expedition had to be abandoned, in part because the scientists felt the ice-breaker might not be able to make it through the unusually thick ice. The cancellation means that project will be delayed, although other parts of the same project will proceed.
They announced on Monday, "The Science Team of the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen has cancelled the first leg of the 2017 Expedition due to complications associated with the southward motion of hazardous Arctic sea ice, caused by climate change."
In a statement issued Monday, Barber said, "Considering the severe ice conditions and the increasing demand for Search And Rescue operations (SAR) and ice escort, we decided to cancel the BaySys mission. A second week of delay meant our research objectives just could not be safely achieved—the challenge for us all was that the marine ice hazards were exceedingly difficult for the maritime industry, the CCG and science."
The Amundsen is now needed to help with other search and rescue efforts.
Barber added, "Climate-related changes in Arctic sea ice not only reduce its extent and thickness but also increase its mobility, meaning that ice conditions are likely to become more variable and severe conditions such as these will occur more often."
As the university noted in a press release, the research clearly indicates "that climate change is not something that is going to happen in the future—it is already here," before warning that their own experience and other "climate change conditions" in the region "clearly illustrates that Canada is ill prepared to deal with the realities of climate change."
Barber added, "I have been in the Arctic for 35 years and this is one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. Normally these conditions aren't so bad. This is climate change fully in action—affecting our ability to make use of marine resources and transport things."
Barber went on to warn, "What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay there. It comes south. We're simply ill-prepared."
Others are worried, too. According to the Canadian Coast Guard, the conditions were unprecedented. Julie Gascon, the Canadian Coast Guard's Assistant Commissioner for the Central and Arctic region added, "We never had any issues in the past of this nature. These were severe ice conditions."
Spring is coming. And soon, tree swallows will start building nests. But as the climate changes, the birds are nesting earlier in the spring.
"It's getting warmer overall. They're thinking, OK, it's a good time to breed, to lay my eggs," says Lily Twining of the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Germany.
She says that despite recent warming, late-season cold snaps remain common. Those cold snaps can harm newborn chicks.
Hatchlings cannot regulate their body temperature, so they are vulnerable to hypothermia. And the insects they eat stop flying in cold weather, potentially leaving the chicks to starve.
"These chicks are growing very, very fast," Twining says. "They have very high energy demands, so… if they don't get a lot of that good high-quality food during this pretty specific time… that's when these cold weather events seem to be most devastating."
For example, data from Ithaca, New York, shows that a single cold snap in 2016 killed more than 70% of baby tree swallows.
"And there have been more and more of these severe cold weather die-off events for these tree swallows as they've been breeding earlier and earlier over the past 40 or so years," Twining says.
So for these songbirds, earlier springs can come with devastating consequences.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
- Spring Is Arriving Earlier Across the U.S. - EcoWatch ›
- Climate Change Leading to Fatal Bird Conflicts - EcoWatch ›
- The Unsettling Reason Why We're Seeing More Snowy Owls ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Citigroup will strive to reach net-zero greenhouse gas pollution across its lending portfolio by 2050 and in its own operations by 2030, the investment group announced Monday.
- 20 Attorneys General Launch Climate Fraud Investigation of Exxon ... ›
- Exxon Plans to Increase Its Climate Pollution - EcoWatch ›
- Exxon to Slash 14,000 Jobs Worldwide as Oil Demand Drops ... ›
By Jacob Job
Maybe you've seen a video clip of a fluffy white fox moving carefully through a frozen landscape. Suddenly it leaps into the air and dive-bombs straight down into the snow. If so, you've witnessed the unusual hunting skills of an Arctic fox.
- Animals With White Winter Camouflage Could Struggle to Adapt to ... ›
- Heavy Snowfall in 2018 Kept Arctic Wildlife From Breeding - EcoWatch ›
By Brett Wilkins
An international survey conducted by the University of Cambridge and YouGov ahead of this November's COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and published on Monday, found overwhelming support around the world for governments taking more robust action to protect the environment amid the worsening climate crisis.
<div id="26ea0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7aa0d6136bd98584572b3d9cc3ccc8fc"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1366418460289470467" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Nine out of ten people in the UK, Brazil, India, China, Indonesia and Poland want governments to “do more” to prote… https://t.co/URLdsms6LB</div> — Cambridge University (@Cambridge University)<a href="https://twitter.com/Cambridge_Uni/statuses/1366418460289470467">1614614522.0</a></blockquote></div>
While the hazards of fracking to human health are well-documented, first-of-its-kind research from Environmental Health News shows the actual levels of biomarkers for fracking chemicals in the bodies of children living near fracking wells far higher than in the general population.
A man stands with his granddaughter in front of the Murphy Oil site located next door to his apartment in West Adams, Los Angles, California on July 16, 2014. Sarah Craig / Faces of Fracking
- Total Ban on Fracking Urged by Health Experts: 1,500 Studies ... ›
- Every Parent Concerned About Their Kids' Health Should Read This ... ›
- 650,000 Children in 9 States Attend School Within 1 Mile of a ... ›
- Fracking Chemicals Remain Secret Despite EPA Knowledge of ... ›
- Study: Fracking Chemicals Harm Kids' Brains - EcoWatch ›