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Navy, Marine Corps Begin Arctic War Exercise To Counter Russia and China

Navy, Marine Corps Begin Arctic War Exercise To Counter Russia and China

The US Navy and Marine Corps are conducting a month-long war exercise in Alaska against the rising threats of Russia and China in the Arctic region

A massive threat to the US is that Russia and China are trying to establish the Belt and Road Initiative in the Arctic, by developing new shipping lanes that are now more accessible thanks to global warming.

The US must continue to show force in the Arctic and not allow Russia and China from establishing the “Polar Silk Road.” 

More than 3,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel will participate in the exercise, along with dozens of vessels, helicopters, planes, and land-based vehicles. 

AECE will allow both services to jointly participate in the “logistical transfer capabilities in the Arctic environment, including wet logistics over the shore, expeditionary mine countermeasures, mobile diving and salvage, and an offshore petroleum discharge system,” said a press release from the US 3rd Fleet Public Affairs.


#USNavy, @USMC to conduct Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise in Alaska this month: go.usa.gov/xVkfC

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Navy and Marine Corps participants will conduct Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE) to stimulate an emerging threat near the Aleutian Islands and Southern California. The exercise places emphasis on fighting for and gaining sea control around a heavily contested area in the Arctic. 

The exercise will include surveillance, mine-clearing, and support for landing operations.

According to the press release, participating units include “U.S. Pacific Fleet, Marine Corps Forces Pacific, U.S. 3rd Fleet, Expeditionary Strike Group Three (ESG-3), and I Marine Expeditionary Force. Afloat units include USS Somerset (LPD 25) and USS Comstock (LSD 45). Ashore units include Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Three, and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One.” 

Navy and Marine Corps participants will conduct Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE) to stimulate an emerging threat near the Aleutian Islands and Southern California. The exercise places emphasis on fighting for and gaining sea control around a heavily contested area in the Arctic. 

The exercise will include surveillance, mine-clearing, and support for landing operations.

According to the press release, participating units include “U.S. Pacific Fleet, Marine Corps Forces Pacific, U.S. 3rd Fleet, Expeditionary Strike Group Three (ESG-3), and I Marine Expeditionary Force. Afloat units include USS Somerset (LPD 25) and USS Comstock (LSD 45). Ashore units include Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit One, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Three, and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One.” 

At the moment, the Arctic will not become a platform for cooperation between the US and Russia and China, but rather a region of hostility and militarization.

Plastic Apocalypse: Dangerous Microplastics Invade Alps To Artic, Found In Fresh Snow

Plastic Apocalypse: Dangerous Microplastics Invade Alps To Artic, Found In Fresh Snow

A new study has revealed that high levels of microplastics have been detected in some of the most remote regions of the world.

The discovery, published in the journal Science Advances, is the first international study on microplastics in snow, conducted by the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany.

Melanie Bergmann, the lead scientist, and her team of researchers found microplastics from the Alps to the Arctic contained high levels of the plastic fragment, raises questions about the environmental and health implications of potential exposure to airborne plastics.

Watch: Farmers create natural straw intend to break plastic’s back

“I was really astonished concerning the high concentrations,” said co-author Gunnar Gerdts, a marine microbiologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute.

Bergmann explains that microplastics come from industrial economies where rubber and paints are used. The tiny fragments end up in the sea, where they’re broken down by waves and ultraviolet radiation, before absorbing into the atmosphere. From there, the plastic particles are captured from the air during cloud development, can drift across the Earth via jet streams. At some point, the particles act as a nucleus around supercooled droplets can condense, and travel to Earth as snow.

“Although there is a huge surge of research into the environmental impact of plastics, there is still so much that we do not know,” said Bergmann.

Bergmann noted how the scientific community was only in its infancy of examining the process of how microplastics get sucked up into the atmosphere then scattered around the world in some form of precipitation. She said, there’s an “urgent need for research on human and animal health effects focusing on airborne microplastics.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Unprecedented” Arctic Wildfires Visible From Space As ‘Global Cooling’ Looms

“Unprecedented” Arctic Wildfires Visible From Space As ‘Global Cooling’ Looms

Numerous wildfires have been ravaging the Arctic for weeks following the hottest June ever recorded on Earth. Now, the fires are so huge and intense, the smoke can literally be seen from space.

As RT reportssatellite images show more than 100 long-lived wildfires with huge plumes of swirling black smoke covering most of the Arctic Circle including parts of Russia, Siberia, Greenland and Alaska. 

#TheNewNormal?
Smoke vortex caused by the #Siberia #wildfires
A rough order of magnitude estimate puts the smoke-covered area at a mind boggling 2 million (yes million) square kilometres#Sentinel3 acquired today 24 July

View image on Twitter

The wildfires have now reached “unprecedented levels,according to Mark Parrington of the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service, who said the smoke vortex is covering a “mind boggling” two million square kilometers.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Life imitates art: Norway rejects oil prospecting in sensitive Arctic islands

Life imitates art: Norway rejects oil prospecting in sensitive Arctic islands

In what seemed like an episode of the Norwegian television drama Occupied, Norway’s largest political party joined smaller ones in the nation’s parliament to prevent oil exploration in the scenic Lofoten archipelago. The Labor Party’s environmental wing made climate change and scenic beauty big issues.

Unlike another contentious oil resource, Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, these islands get around 1 million visitors each year. That implies that many Norwegians have actually seen the islands.

In the history of oil-rich nations, Norwegians have followed an unorthodox path. While most such nations have chosen to subsidize domestic prices of petroleum products or at least keep them cheap by policy, Norway has taxed consumption of oil and oil products as if the country were an importer trying to economize on petroleum use.

A recent Bloomberg survey showed that the average price of a gallon of gas worldwide was $3.48. The range was 1 cent in Venezuela to $7.61 in Hong Kong. Norway ranked second highest at $6.89.

Even more strange is that Norway has become a leading market for all-electric cars. About one-third of all new cars sold in the country last year were all-electric. Of course, Norway has very large hydroelectric resources, resources which produced 93.6 percent of the country’s electricity in February 2019, the most recent month for which data is available. But these copious hydropower resources have long been available and didn’t prevent the country from becoming dependent on petroleum-fueled transportation just like the rest of the world.

Norway also made a fateful and propitious decision shortly after the discovery of its oil and natural gas riches in the North Sea. The country decided to invest much of the tax revenue derived from oil and gas in a sovereign wealth fund to be managed on behalf of the Norwegian people for use by future generations.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Polar ice loss speeds up by leaps and bounds

Polar ice loss speeds up by leaps and bounds

More ice is melting in Antarctica, threatening much faster sea level rise. Image: By Danielle Barneson Unsplash

North and south, polar ice loss is happening faster than ever. Researchers now have a measure of the accelerating flow into the ocean.

LONDON, 22 January, 2019 – In the last few decades the speed of polar ice loss at both ends of the planet has begun to gallop away at rates which will have a marked effect on global sea levels.

Antarctica is now losing ice mass six times faster than it did 40 years ago. In the decade that began in 1979, the great white continent surrendered 40 billion tons of ice a year to raise global sea levels. By the decade 2009 to 2017, this mass loss had soared to 252 billion tons a year.

And in Greenland, the greatest concentration of terrestrial ice in the northern hemisphere has also accelerated its rate of ice loss fourfold in this century.

Satellite studies confirm that in 2003, around 102 billion tons of ice turned to flowing water or broke off into the ocean as floating bergs. By 2013, this figure had climbed to 393 billion tons a year.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. As the Antarctic Ice Sheet continues to melt away, we expect multi-metre sea level rise from Antarctica in the coming centuries”

Scientists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they studied high resolution aerial photographs, satellite radar readings and historic Landsat imagery to survey 18 south polar regions encompassing 176 basins and surrounding islands of Antarctica to take the most precise measurement of ice loss so far.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Permafrost thaw unsettles the Arctic

Permafrost thaw unsettles the Arctic

Permafrost thaw caused this Alaskan road to drop by 3 metres. Image: Dr. John Cloud, NOAA (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

Permafrost thaw and retreating Arctic ice don’t just imperil caribou and bears. People, too, may find the ground shifts beneath their feet.

LONDON, 1 January, 2019 − In just one human generation, citizens of the far north could find themselves on shifting soils as the region’s permafrost thaws. Roads will slump. Buildings will buckle. Pipelines will become at risk of fracture. And in 2050, around three fourths of the people of the permafrost could watch their infrastructure collapse, as what was once hard frozen ground turns into mud.

All this could happen even if the world keeps the promise it made in Paris in 2015 and limits global average warming to just 1.5°C above the level for most of pre-industrial history.

In the last century, the world has already warmed by 1°C on average: the Arctic region has warmed at a far faster rate. At present rates of warming, driven by the profligate use of fossil fuels that raise the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the world is on course for an average warming of 3°C by 2100.

Researchers from Finland, Norway, Russia and the US report in the journal Nature Communications that they mapped, on a scale of a kilometre, the buildings, installations, roads and other infrastructure of the permafrost world: a region defined as that where the ground is frozen solid, summer and winter, for at least two consecutive years.

More than 4 million people live in this pan-Arctic landscape: at least 3.6 million of them, and 70% of their transportation and industrial infrastructure, are at risk.

Present reality

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Anti-Russia Cold War in the Arctic is Heating Up

The Anti-Russia Cold War in the Arctic is Heating Up

Photo Source Official U.S. Navy Page | CC BY 2.0

Britain’s Daily Mail is a strident rag that is bought daily by over a million people who agree with its stance that most foreigners are inferior to Brits. Two years ago the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance reported that the Mail and some other papers indulged in “offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology”, and the Commission’s chairman observed that “the Brexit referendum seems to have led to a further rise in ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment”.

The highly-respected Economist noted that “unsurprisingly, the Daily Mail spreads more EU-linked lies than anyone else” and that its website “garners 225 million visitors each month”, which is amazing and disturbing, given its campaigns of bigotry and intolerance.

The Mail knows its readers and tells them what they want to hear, and one of its targets is Russia, which it regularly maligns and berates.

On October 23 a main story noted approvingly that on October 25 “some 50,000 troops will kick off NATO’s biggest military exercises since the Cold War in Norway, a massive show of force that has already rankled neighboring Russia. Trident Juncture 18, which runs until November 7, is aimed at training the Alliance to mobilize quickly to defend an ally under attack.” The US 6th Fleet stated that among other major deployments for the maneuvers, the aircraft carrier Harry S Truman and guided missile destroyers of the Eighth Carrier Strike Group moved in to dominate the Norwegian Sea for the first time since 1991.

According to US Air Forces Europe, Trident Juncture is partially funded by the European Deterrence Initiative, and US F-16 strike aircraft and KC-135 Stratotankers have deployed to operate from an air base in neutral, non-NATO Sweden.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NATO Sends 50,000 Troops to Largest Exercise Since Cold War

NATO Sends 50,000 Troops to Largest Exercise Since Cold War

Operations centered on Arctic and Scandinavia

US Marines are landing in Iceland and warplanes are flying overhead in Scandinavia, just days ahead of the kickoff of Trident Juncture. The annual exercise, focused on the Arctic Circle and Scandinavia, is set to be the largest operation since the Cold War.

31 countries are involved, 29 NATO members and Finland and Sweden. They will overall be sending 50,000 troops, 10,000 vehicles, 150 warplanes and 65 ships. Starting Thursday, the exercise will last a month.

And while officials insist it’s not strictly along the Russian border, Russian military officials say it is close enough, and clearly targeted at growing Russian interests in the Arctic Circle, as warmer temperatures open up new route.

NATO officials are being two-faced about this, however, on the one hand insisting this is just an annual exercise, and on the other hand presenting it as a “response to Russian aggression,” the same excuse for every massive exercise along the Russian frontier.

Britain and NATO Prepare for War on Russia in the Arctic

Britain and NATO Prepare for War on Russia in the Arctic

Britain and NATO Prepare for War on Russia in the Arctic

On September 30 the UK’s foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, delivered an astonishing tirade, saying “The EU was set up to protect freedom. It was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving. The lesson from history is clear: if you turn the EU club into a prison, the desire to get out won’t diminish, it will grow — and we won’t be the only prisoner that will want to escape.” His comparison of the EU to gulags of former years played well with many people in Britain, but was understandably regarded as totally inappropriate by the EU, whose spokesman’s polite observation was “I would say respectfully that we would all benefit – and in particular foreign affairs ministers – from opening a history book from time to time.”

The lunacy didn’t stop there. Not content with insulting the EU’s 27 countries, the government in London decided to whip up even more patriotic fervour by again trying to portray Russia as a threat to the United Kingdom.

In June 2018 the UK’s Sun newspaper carried the headline “Britain will send RAF Typhoon fighter jets to Iceland in bid to tackle Russian aggression” and since then Mr Williamson hasn’t altered his contention that “the Kremlin continues to challenge us in every domain.” (Williamson is the man who declared in March 2018 that “Frankly Russia should go away — it should shut up,” which was one of the most juvenile public utterances of recent years.)

It was reported on September 29 that Williamson was concerned about “growing Russian aggression ‘in our back yard’,” and that the Government was drawing up a “defence Arctic strategy” with 800 commandos being deployed to a new base in Norway. In an interview “Mr Williamson highlighted Russia’s re-opening of Soviet-era bases and ‘increased tempo’ of submarine activity as evidence that Britain needed to ‘demonstrate we’re there’ and ‘protect our interests’.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Arctic Heats Up in the Dead of Winter

The Arctic Heats Up in the Dead of Winter

Photo by NOAA Photo Library | CC BY 2.0

Every once in a while a climatic event hits that forces people to sit down to catch their breath. Along those lines, abnormal Arctic heat waves in the dead of winter may force scientists to revaluate downwards (or maybe upwards, depending) their most pessimistic of forecasts.

By the end of February 2018, large portions of the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland were open blue water, meaning no ice. But, it’s wintertime, no daylight 24/7, yet no ice in areas where it’s usually some meters thick! In a remarkable, mindboggling turn of events, thick ice in early February by month’s end turned into wide open blue water, metaphorically equivalent to an airline passenger at 35,000 feet watching rivets pop off the fuselage.

The sea ice north of Greenland is historically the thickest, most solid ice of the North Pole. But, it’s gone all of a sudden! Egads, what’s happening and is it a danger signal? Answer: Probably, depending upon which scientist is consulted. Assuredly, nobody predicted loss of ice north of Greenland in the midst of winter.

Wide open blue seas in the Arctic expose all of humanity to risks of Runaway Global Warming (“RGW”) as, over time, massive amounts of methane erupts with ancillary sizzling of agricultural crops, and as the Arctic heats up much faster than the rest of the planet, this also throws a curve ball at weather patterns all across the Northern Hemisphere, radical weather patterns ensue, like snow on the French Riviera only recently.

According to Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen, February was the warmest (hottest) on record in the Arctic, which includes 10 days of temps above freezing.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Quantifying our Faustian bargain with fossil fuels 

Quantifying our Faustian bargain with fossil fuels 

Our Faustian bargain: the byproduct of burning dirty
fossil fuels are short-lived atmospheric aerosols
which provide temporary cooling

The climate system will heat well past 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C) and perhaps up to 2°C without any further fossil fuel emissions. That’s the conclusion to be drawn from new research which should also help demystify the rhetoric from the 2015 Paris climate talks of keeping warming to below 1.5°C .

It’s not that 1.5°C isn’t dangerous: in fact, at just 1–1.1°C of warming to date, climate change is already dangerous. A safe climate would be well below the present level of warming, unless you think it is OK to destroy the Arctic ecosystem, tip West West Antarctic glaciers into a self-accelerating melt, and lose the world’s coral reefs, just for starters.

The new research quantifies the effect of losing the very temporary planetary cooling provided by atmospheric aerosols.
Aerosols (including black-carbon soot, organic carbon, sulphates and nitrates and dust) are very short-lived particles in the atmosphere that have a cooling impact that lasts around a week. Most of these aerosols are anthropogenic, that is produced by human activity, and most of the anthropogenic aerosols are a byproduct of the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. Perhaps best known are the polluting sulphates and nitrates from coal-fired power stations, that combine with water molecules in the atmosphere to produce what is popularly known as “acid rain”.

The problem is our “Faustian bargain”: these aerosols are keeping the planet cooler than it would otherwise be, but are coming from burning fossil fuels that pour carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, heating the planet for centuries to come. The absolutely essential moves to eliminate fossil fuel emissions will also cut the cooling aerosol impact; the net effect will push the planet towards very dangerous warming conditions.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Warming Stirs the Methane Monster

Global Warming Stirs the Methane Monster

Photo by Jeremy Buckingham | CC BY 2.0

It’s January, yet methane hydrates in the Arctic are growling like an incensed monster on a scorching hot mid-summer day. But, it is January; it’s winter, not July!

On January 1st Arctic methane at 2,764 ppb spiked upwards into the atmosphere, which, according to Arctic News: “Was likely caused by methane hydrate destabilization in the sediments on the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean.” (Source: Unfolding Arctic Catastrophe, Arctic News, January 2, 2017) Once again, with emphasis, it’s January; it’s winter, and there’s little or no sunshine above the Arctic Circle. So, what gives? Why are alarming levels of methane spewing into the atmosphere in the dead of winter?

For starters, record low sea ice volume, which has been dropping like a leaden weight for years because of human-generated (anthropogenic) global warming. That’s a recipe for trouble, big time trouble as methane hydrates (lattices of ice that entrap methane molecules) get exposed to warmer water. In that regard, average sea ice volume throughout 2017 was at record lows.

Making matters worse yet, extraordinarily warm water currents flow into the Arctic from nearby ocean waters that have been absorbing 90% of global warming. Ergo, Arctic water in thin ice does not cool down without a lot of thick ice to melt the warm water currents. So, abnormally warm water remains into winter months and, in time, reaches sediments at the bottom of the ocean, disrupting methane hydrates, which have stored tonnes of methane over millennia. However, in due course, all hell breaks loose with large-scale methane eruptions, one of those “Naw, it can’t be happening” moments.

Here’s the problem: On average, sea surface temps were 23.35°F warmer during the period October 1 to December 30, 2017 compared to the 30-year average temperature. On October 25th, the sea surface was as warm as 63.5°F.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Destruction of a Vast Transnational Nursery?

The Destruction of a Vast Transnational Nursery?

“If the oil execs aren’t terrarists, then who is?  And if that doesn’t make the big energy companies criminal enterprises, then how would you define that term? To destroy our planet with malice aforethought, with only the most immediate profits on the brain, with only your own comfort and wellbeing (and those of your shareholders) in mind: Isn’t that the ultimate crime? Isn’t that terracide?”

Of course, that was in the good old days before Donald Trump and his cronies filled a whole administration to the tipping point with so-called climate skeptics and outright climate-change denialists.  And this continues to happen, even as one report or study after another confirms that humanity and its fossil fuels are heating the planet at a remarkable rate and filling its atmosphere with carbon dioxide at a record pace.  In the end, Trump and his crew may prove to be the biggest collection of criminals — in terms of harm to this world — ever.  And it should be considered a historical irony (of sorts) that, on this issue, the Republicans, once the American party of the environment, are with them all the way.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Arctic riches: A most insane discussion

Arctic riches: A most insane discussion

As climate change rips away the icy armor of the Arctic, nations surrounding the North Pole and companies eager to exploit the area’s mineral wealth–particularly oil and natural gas–are growing giddy with anticipation.

So reports the Associated Press, though the AP is by no means the first to report this story. The slow-motion battle over the increasingly accessible resources of the Arctic is certainly a story. But the prevailing version of that story lacks the proper context, one that is hard to provide since the implications of global climate change are vast and difficult to grasp.

First and foremost, burning additional oil and natural gas made available by receding Arctic ice is nothing short of insane. But in a world that believes that adapting to climate change is merely an engineering problem, this type of talk persists.

Readers of the AP piece are told that those wishing to exploit the Arctic will have to build the necessary infrastructure to service the mining, fishing and tourism interests that want a piece of these boreal riches. (Yes, you read that right: tourism!)

But if development of the Arctic proceeds, it will be a sign that we are doing far too little to abate the very causes of warming that make such development thinkable. That would imply increasingly rapid climate change, something that will almost surely destabilize a world which wants to exploit the Arctic.

In a world plagued with agricultural areas devastated by flood and drought, coastal cities drenched by rising seas, mass migrations from newly uninhabitable areas, spreading tropical diseases, water shortages, and unimaginably long periods of intense summer heat, it is hard to imagine that nations and private companies will be able to provide the systematic focus on Arctic development needed to extract its wealth.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Droughts, floods from weird jet stream linked to Arctic heat

Droughts, floods from weird jet stream linked to Arctic heat

Something strange is going on, with more incidences of unprecedented heat waves, droughts and flooding happening in recent years, and based on the latest research, it’s looking more and more like climate change is to blame.

The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet, due to global warming and the resulting changes it is causing to Earth’s climate. For 2016 alone, NASA recorded an average temperature anomaly in the Arctic of over three times what was observed at the equator.

According to a new study in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, headed by Penn State climate scientist Michael E. Mann, the jet stream is being locked into some strange, persistent patterns by this Arctic heat, and this, in turn, is fueling some of the extreme, unprecedented weather events we have been experiencing in the last few decades.

“The warming of the Arctic, the polar amplification of warming, plays a key role here,” Mann told Penn State News. “The surface and lower atmosphere are warming more in the Arctic than anywhere else on the globe. That pattern projects onto the very temperature gradient profile that we identify as supporting atmospheric waveguide conditions.”


Map of global temperature anomalies for 2016, compared to the 20th Century average. The Arctic was roughly 3.2oC above average vs 1oC above average at the equator. Credit: NASA GISS

There is a fairly simple premise that drives the activity of the jet stream: the speed of the winds in the stream is strongly influenced by how the temperature changes between the equator and the pole (ie: the temperature gradient).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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