The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
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."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Brian Barth
Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC
The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
By Alison Cagle
Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.
Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.
By Nanticha Ocharoenchai
In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.