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Arctic

The National Oceanography Centre in the UK has used data on the Arctic Ocean gathered by Royal Navy submarines to study the effects of a possible future shrinking of the ice cap. This meeting of oceanography and military intelligence has seen declassified data from the 1990s analyzed to gain insights into how diminished ice cover affects turbulence in arctic waters. Read More
The Nomadic Shelter is a temporary modular shelter recently built during the Salt Siida Workshop, an architectural workshop that's part of a traveling arts festival currently located on the the beach of the Norwegian island of Sandhornøy, in the Arctic Circle. Despite measuring just 12 sq m (130 sq ft), the shelter sleeps up to 12 people. Read More
February 11 marked the two-year anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite, an event that signaled the continuation of an Earth observation project that began in the early 1970s. To celebrate the occasion, the team has released a vast composite image that stretches unbroken from Sweden to British Columbia. Read More

Last August we heard about the Baltika, a rather clever icebreaker that can temporarily increase its frontal area by traveling sideways into the ice. At the time, it was still under construction, and the only images available were renderings. Now, however, it's complete and has begun sea trials. Read More

Given that icebreakers clear a path for other ships by traveling through the ice head-on (or sometimes butt-on), then in order for one of them to clear a wider path, it would have to be wider and thus larger overall ... right? Well, Finland’s Arctech Helsinki Shipyard is taking a different, more efficient approach. It’s in the process of building an asymmetric-hulled icebreaker that can increase its frontal area, by making its way through the ice at an angle of up to 30 degrees. Read More
NASA scientists have unleashed a new robot on the arctic terrain of Greenland to demonstrate that its ability to operate with complete autonomy in one of Earth's harshest environments. Named GROVER, which stands for both Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, the polar robotic ranger carries ground-penetrating radar for analysis of snow and ice, and an autonomous control system. All of that is placed between two solar panels and two snowmobile tracks. Read More
NASA's autonomous, solar-powered explorer GROVER has been kitted out with ground-penetrating radar to take to Greenland's ice sheet on Friday. There the robot will spend a month analyzing the accumulation of snow and how this contributes to the ice sheet over time. The scientists involved hope to identify a new layer of ice that has formed since summer 2012, an unusually warm summer which saw melting across 97 percent of the area of the ice sheet. During that time, an iceberg twice the size of Manhattan calved from the Petermann Glacier, part of the ice sheet. Read More
Working on arctic oil rigs and similar sites doesn't just mean putting on a jumper and a scarf. It’s arduous, exhausting and dangerous, and requires careful judgment at all times to deal with the hostile frozen environment. To make this a bit less hazardous, the Scandinavian research organization SINTEF is developing clothing equipped with sensors to monitor temperature and activity, with an eye on helping supervisors to determine when it's time for workers to stop work and return inside. Read More
The Arctic North end of Russia is believed to hold as much as a quarter of all the world's oil deposits - an utterly monstrous economic prize, hidden in one of the toughest and least hospitable environments on the planet. Getting to this prize, and then transporting it back to refineries, is a monolithic task that requires one of the most awe-inspiring pieces of machinery man has ever built - the nuclear icebreaker. Purpose-built to the point of being almost unseaworthy on the open waves, these goliaths smash their way through 10-foot thick ice crusts to create viable pathways for other vessels - but fascinating new technologies could mean the days of the dedicated icebreaker are numbered. Read More
Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson definitely has his work cut out for him. On April 6th he began his one-year Pole2Pole trek, in the course of which he intends to travel from the North to South Pole using only carbon-neutral transportation. He has already begun to ski down from the North Pole, with other legs of his journey intended to include travel by dog sled, sailboat, bicycle and kite-assisted sled. Given that his life may depend on everything performing properly, he won’t just be using a garden-variety toboggan to haul his gear across the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps – instead, expedition sponsor Audi has made him a one-of-a-kind sled. Read More
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