Polar Regions

Article

Sea Change

Author: Scott G. Borgerson
TheAtlantic.com

Scott Borgerson visually explores the changing Arctic using an interactive map.

See more in Climate Change; Arctic

Audio

The Geopolitics of the Arctic (Audio)

Speakers: Scott G. Borgerson and Paula J. Dobriansky
Presider: Frank Sesno

Scott Borgerson and Paula Dobriansky discuss the economic, environmental, and security implications of a changing Arctic region and its significance for the United States.

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Event

The Geopolitics of the Arctic

As Arctic sea ice continues to melt, this November marked the close of the longest Arctic sailing and shipping season ever recorded. Please join Scott Borgerson and Paula Dobriansky to discuss the economic, environmental, and security implications of a changing Arctic region and its significance for the United States.

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Expert Brief

A Coast Guard for the Emerging Arctic

Author: Captain Peter Troedsson, USCG

As human activity intensifies in the Arctic, U.S. interests would be best represented by a reinforced Coast Guard, exercising the role it carries out in other coastal areas, writes CFR Military Fellow Peter Troedsson.

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Must Read

The Economist: Governing the Oceans

"Yet the state of the high seas is deteriorating (see article). Arctic ice now melts away in summer. Dead zones are spreading. Two-thirds of the fish stocks in the high seas are over-exploited, even more than in the parts of the oceans under national control. And strange things are happening at a microbiological level. The oceans produce half the planet's supply of oxygen, mostly thanks to chlorophyll in aquatic algae. Concentrations of that chlorophyll are falling. That does not mean life will suffocate. But it could further damage the climate, since less oxygen means more carbon dioxide."

See more in Arctic; Politics and Strategy

Must Read

The Arctic Institute: The Future of Arctic Shipping: A New Silk Road?

Author: Malte Humpert

"Arctic shipping will remain of limited importance to China, as it will for the rest of the world. Future shipping in the Polar region will mostly consist of seasonal destinational transport, delivering supplies into the Arctic for its increasing economic activity and transporting the region's natural resources to markets in East Asia."

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Must Read

The Conversation: Why Is Antarctic Sea Ice Growing?

Author: Guy Williams

"This winter, the maximum total Antarctic sea ice extent was reported to be 19.47 million square metres, which is 3.6% above the winter average calculated from 1981 to 2010. This continues a trend that is weakly positive and remains in stark contrast to the decline in Arctic summer sea ice extent (2013 was 18% below the mean from 1981-2010). To further complicate this picture, we find this net increase actually masks strong declines in particular regions around Antarctica, such as in the Bellingshausen Sea, which are on par or greater than those in the Artic."

See more in Polar Regions; Climate Change

Must Read

CRS: Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Author: Ronald O'Rourke

Many observers have noted that the loss of Arctic ice is already leading to stepped-up human activity in the high north, particularly in the form of increasing commercial traffic and development. This trend has brought forth a range of issues on the geopolitical front, from environmental protection to search-and-rescue capabilities to the delineation of national boundaries—which will determine access to natural resources. These concerns are being addressed cooperatively in both bilateral and multilateral fashion, especially under the aegis of the Arctic Council and the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

See more in Arctic; Climate Change; Environmental Policy

Must Read

Lloyd's: Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North

Authors: Charles Emmerson and Glada Lahn

The Arctic region is undergoing unprecedented and disruptive change. Its climate is changing more rapidly than anywhere else on earth. Rising temperatures are causing a retreat of sea ice and changes to seasonal length, weather patterns and ecosystems. These changes have prompted a reassessment of economic and development potential in the Arctic and are giving rise to a set of far-reaching political developments.

See more in Economic Development; Climate Change; Arctic