Environmental and Ecological Challenges

Eberhard.Sauter [ at ] awi.de


Abstract: Title: “Environmental and Ecological Challenges” The Arctic faces rapid changes in the context of global warming. This presentation recaps the most important processes and physical boundary conditions relevant for the development of Arctic shipping. It is common sense that the changes observed in the Arctic are not created locally but globally. Vice versa the will affect back global processes. Globalism includes the Arctic in both directions. However, as an area of extreme climate the Arctic is twice as much affected by global warming as temperate regions. Although the summer sea ice extent in 2013 and 2014 did not repeat the minimum of 2012, the trend of retreating sea ice, decreasing ice thicknesses and permafrost thawing continues. However, this does not mean that the Arctic opens up immediately as an easy to travel sea route since sea ice conditions are highly variable even during the Arctic summer periods. It has been recognized by all kinds of stakeholders, that Arctic ecosystems are in particular vulnerable. Beside oil spills and ship disasters the invasion of non-Arctic species into Arctic ecosystems, black carbon emissions as well as increasing litter and chemical pollution have to be taken into account. There is no doubt about that commercial activities will develop inexorably within the years to come since global demands but also the quest for economic prosperity within the Arctic regions themselves cannot be negated. However, they have to be balanced out against the mentioned risks. In addition, locals (including indigenous peoples) and non-local stakeholders have to share chances and risks in a fair proportion. Field observation, infrastructures, as well as well as technological innovation is essential to succeed in the development of sustainable shipping activities. This can only be achieved in multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral and international cooperation.

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Conference (Invited talk)
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Research Networks
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Conference "Developing clean and cost efficient Arctic Trade Routes - Perspectives from Norway and Germany", 20 Nov 2014 - 20 Nov 2014, Christiania Qvartalet Møtesenter, Oslo, Norway.
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Sauter, E. J. , Alfred Wegener Institute (2014): Environmental and Ecological Challenges , Conference "Developing clean and cost efficient Arctic Trade Routes - Perspectives from Norway and Germany", Christiania Qvartalet Møtesenter, Oslo, Norway, 20 November 2014 - 20 November 2014 .

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