Claim: Nations will come together over Arctic science

From TUFTS UNIVERSITY and the “kumbayah” department

Science can align common interests among the world’s leading superpowers

(MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE) November 3, 2017 – International scientific collaboration in the Arctic can help align common interests among countries experiencing geopolitical conflict, including the United States and Russia, according to a team of scientists and educators led by a professor at The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Published in Science, the article’s strategic policy assessments build upon the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation that was signed in May 2017 by the foreign ministers of the eight Arctic States, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, despite deteriorating relations between their two nations.

The Agreement, also known as the Arctic Science Agreement, minimizes the risks that short-term domestic policy shifts will impact relations within the Arctic by cementing a consensus among the countries that will last beyond political cycles, according to lead author Paul Arthur Berkman, who is a professor of practice in science diplomacy at The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts and the director of the Science Diplomacy Center at The Fletcher School.

He added that the Agreement enhances the stability of research platforms across nations to interpret and disseminate previously inaccessible data, and will generate continuous data to interpret marine, terrestrial, atmospheric, and human-centered changes. In effect, the Arctic Science Agreement enhances the capacity of all nations to integrate diverse data into evidence and options that contribute to informed decision-making for Arctic sustainability.

“Governments respond to security issues that involve the risks of political, economic, and cultural instabilities,” said Berkman. “In a global context, unlike any time in human history, there also is urgency to address issues, impacts, and resources involving present and future generations, recognizing that children born today will be living in the 22nd century.”

The authors examined the history of international Arctic collaboration that began in the 1950s and has grown ever since, illustrating how science diplomacy has already promoted cooperation and prevented conflict in the Arctic, most notably between the United States and Russia. However, the authors provided several concrete opportunities for improvements needed for the Agreement to be truly successful, such as:

  • Establishing procedures to expedite the granting of visas and permits for international scientists accessing field sites;
  • Digitizing historic and other data from hard-copy formats and creating shared platforms for data that can be accessed throughout the world;
  • Increasing support for field and summer schools and related means for training the next generation of Arctic scientists;
  • Promoting well-formulated comparative studies designed to examine common issues at multiple locations across the Arctic;
  • Maximizing the use of icebreakers (ships designed to move and navigate through ice-covered waters) and other forms of infrastructure for scientific purposes; and
  • Creating innovative venues that integrate natural and social sciences along with indigenous knowledge to address common concerns.

In addition, the authors explicitly call for scientific partnerships with Russia, considering the country’s sovereign rights extend over nearly half of the Arctic. “Research partnerships with Russian scientists are critical for Arctic science and diplomatic progress,” according to the article.

Ultimately, the authors concluded that the Arctic Science Agreement should be used as a tool to facilitate research and build upon partnerships to conduct fieldwork, access data, and begin to answer previously unanswerable scientific questions, especially within pan-Arctic dimensions.

“Effective implementation of the Arctic Science Agreement will strengthen research and education across borders in the Arctic, highlighting the role of science diplomacy to help balance national interests and common interests for the lasting benefit of all on Earth with hope and inspiration across generations,” said Berkman.


To read the full paper, click here.


48 thoughts on “Claim: Nations will come together over Arctic science

  1. All in all a good news story. All countries do need to work together to manage this resource fairly and carefully. Although I did find this interesting given that certain ‘people’ are now in office.

    The Agreement, also known as the Arctic Science Agreement, minimizes the risks that short-term domestic policy shifts will impact relations within the Arctic by cementing a consensus among the countries that will last beyond political cycles


    It sounds like the EU, IPCC governmental framework, removing the constitutional power of individual governments and ultimately the rights of the voting public. I am not sure what to make of it.

    [Fixed, .mod]

  2. US Arctic Scientist: “The Arctic is melting, and it’s an environmental as well as global disaster”.
    Russian Arctic Scientist: “We can get around a lot easier now, thanks mostly to our new, powerful icebreakers. If there is less ice, it’s good, because it will be easier to get the oil we know is there”.
    US Arctic Scientist: “So we agree, there is less ice now”.

    • Yes there is less ice than during the COLDEST period of the last 10,000 years.

      Late 1970’s was up there with the extent of the Little Ice Age.

      But its still in the top 10% of Holocene ice extent.

      There is still ONE HECK OF A LOT of Arctic sea ice. !

    • Compared to the vast area, the human population is vanishingly small. This could change, however, if global warming continues as postulated by the AGW disciples. And there the interests of the nations are the same: No one wants huge areas of his country as cold uninhabitable hostile regions. Everything else is eye wiping.
      Therefore: Warming is life, cold is death.

      • Eine Fussnote: Leider bezweifle ich, dass die Modelle richtig liegen. Die Erderwärmung wird nur mit gebremsten Schaum weitergehen, wie bisher auch. Zum Leidwesen der Anrainer des arktischen Zirkels.

      • One footnote: Unfortunately, I doubt that the models are correct. The global warming will continue only with braked foam, as before. To the chagrin of the neighbors of the Arctic Circle.

    • Iceland above the Arctic Circle?

      649,000 people live in Alaska above the Arctic Circle?

      I think that globe’s a little misleading.

  3. This is an anti-Arctic fossil fuel production story and regional central governance putsch. They take the longer view that Trump will be out after one term – a neo-left daydream. They don’t see a political paradigm shift. If they did, they would have been scrambling furiously with introspective reviews and political autopsies to remake themselves. Instead they revoted in Jurassic Pelosi as Senate leader instead of new blood and continue to prosecute the peoples choice for Pres. This is a good dictionary definition of bankrupt in the field of ideas.

    What do y’all make of an agreement to allow the ice breakers rubble up the ice wherever they want. They’d be steaming into the multi year ice to get that problem out Fram Strait and prepare for ice-free Arctic. Ideologue scientists Are the danger to the Arctic.

    Hopefully Canadians will elect a Conservative government in next election – Trudeau walks around with a bundle of pens in his pocket at the ready to divest our sovereignty at any opportunity and also has invited a million refugees into the country a la Merkel. Fortunately he has walked back a policy to divest families of their parents’ businesses and to tax the heck out of money you pay family members. He did ram his marijuanaization of the country through to the chagrin of police and highway patrol.

  4. The only thing most nations have in common about the Arctic is they will agree not to shoot at each other as they scramble to see how many holes each can punch in the seabed looking for fossil fuels.

    • LMAO.

      No kidding.

      I’m a cynic, so sue me. But this screams, ‘don’t shoot us and we won’t shoot you while we each plot the retreating ice to usher in the next Gold Rush’ more than, “Oh noes the ice is melting, lets all study it together and make smores around the campfire at night while singing, Its the end of the world and we know it”.

  5. ” …by cementing a consensus among the countries that will last beyond political cycles…”

    I don’t particularly like the idea of the political elite and their academic cronies locking our countries into treaties, pacts, scams and other shady deals with any country, let alone hostile or adversarial ones.

    • JH–you are correct. In the USA, the whole idea of political cycles is that, if one administration makes poor decisions and bad laws, the next administration has powers to correct them. That is proving difficult in the case of some of Obama’s enormities (especially with the help of his holdovers in various departments); but even so, Trump and his department heads have made substantial progress in reversing or removing the errors and deliberate damage done by Obama and his minions. Like you, I heartily disapprove of having some extra-national body or group with the ability to make decisions on the USA’s behalf that our administration can’t counteract: as Trump would say, “Bad deal! Very bad deal! Extremely bad deal! Get rid of it.”

  6. The process uses a complex series of equations and measurements of arctic sea ice albedo, open ocean water albedo at each solar elevation angle, atmosphere clarity measurements, and solar radiation data for TOA radiation levels, but it is very straightforward to calculate the difference between how much energy is absorbed into the exposed Arctic Ocean if sea ice is present, or if it has melted.

    Do the math for each hour of the day, add up the results, and you can get the Daily Radiation Energy Absorbed Difference between sea ice, and no sea ice in watt-hours.

    Now, that Daily Energy Difference changes with every hour of the day, changes with every day of the year. And remember, the number calculated is the DIFFERENCE in the amount of energy absorbed into the Arctic Ocean if sea ice is present (and thus energy is reflected according to the long-held catastrophic Arctic feedback cycle), or if sea ice is absent (and more energy is absorbed into the Arctic Ocean by the “darker” ocean waters.)

    Well, for calm Arctic ocean waters, it turns out that that daily direct absorbed energy difference is near-zero.

    Date 	DOY	TOA	Avg	Lat at	Arctic	Total 	Absorbed
     		Rad.	Area	Edge 	Sea Ice	Rad/m^2	Energy
                                    of Sea  Albedo   Hori.  Difference
                    W/M^2   MKm^2   Ice             Watt-HrsWatt-Hrs
    2-Jan	2	1408	12.317	72.1	0.830	0	0
    12-Jan	12	1407	12.773	71.8	0.830	0	0
    22-Jan	22	1405	13.171	71.5	0.830	0	0
    2-Feb	33	1401	13.559	71.2	0.830	0	0
    12-Feb	43	1396	13.861	71.0	0.830	15	3
    22-Feb	53	1390	14.005	70.9	0.830	113	43
    2-Mar	61	1385	14.108	70.9	0.830	292	144
    12-Mar	71	1378	14.125	70.9	0.830	651	378
    22-Mar	81	1371	13.968	70.9	0.830	1146	728
    2-Apr	92	1362	13.822	71.1	0.830	1813	1223
    12-Apr	102	1355	13.464	71.3	0.830	2493	1741
    22-Apr	112	1347	13.071	71.6	0.823	3207	2272
    2-May	122	1340	12.639	71.9	0.824	3919	2825
    12-May	132	1334	12.111	72.3	0.818	4595	3310
    22-May	142	1328	11.516	72.7	0.796	5201	3637
    2-Jun	153	1323	10.890	73.2	0.749	5740	3742
    12-Jun	163	1320	10.230	73.8	0.689	6053	3580
    22-Jun	173	1317	9.436	74.4	0.620	6151	3212
    2-Jul	183	1316	8.389	75.2	0.553	6012	2725
    12-Jul	193	1317	7.378	76.2	0.498	5630	2218
    22-Jul	203	1318	6.545	76.9	0.466	5028	1783
    2-Aug	214	1321	5.836	77.7	0.464	4159	1415
    12-Aug	224	1325	5.388	78.3	0.499	3261	1171
    22-Aug	234	1330	5.094	78.7	0.566	2368	957
    2-Sep	245	1337	4.807	78.9	0.666	1497	698
    12-Sep	255	1344	4.740	78.9	0.761	864	441
    22-Sep	265	1351	4.874	78.5	0.830	414	208
    2-Oct	275	1359	5.388	78.0	0.830	146	57
    12-Oct	285	1366	6.246	77.3	0.830	28	6
    22-Oct	295	1374	7.235	76.5	0.830	1	0
    2-Nov	306	1382	8.242	75.6	0.830	0	0
    12-Nov	316	1389	8.975	74.8	0.830	0	0
    22-Nov	326	1395	9.625	74.1	0.830	0	0
    2-Dec	336	1400	10.316	73.4	0.830	0	0
    12-Dec	346	1404	11.107	73.0	0.830	0	0
    22-Dec	356	1406	11.737	72.6	0.830	0	0
    						70797	38517

    Now, the Arctic sea ice minimum occurs each year between 12 Sept and 22 Sept, but it varies each year by a little bit.
    But notice: on 12 Sept, only 441 watt-hrs/sq meter more energy is absorbed into the Arctic Ocean if the sea ice is missing.
    On 22 Sept, only 208 additional watt-hrs/sq meter are absorbed if the sea ice has melted.

    And, each day thereafter, there is even less energy difference.

    Now, through the early summer – Yes, absolutely more energy is absorbed into the Arctic Ocean.

    But, on 12 August during her months of summer Arctic sea ice SHEBA expedition, Dr Curry observed the overnight heat losses from the open ocean water at latitude 78 north were sufficient to not only released all of the heat absorbed during the entire 24 hours of daylight exposure, but were enough to freeze the exposed surface water. And each day after 12 August, that re-frozen surface water was ever and ever thicker.
    Now, the direct solar energy absorbed into the open arctic water at lat 78 on 12 August is 2800 watt-hours/m^2.
    Thus, it is easy to prove that energy losses from every meter of open ocean at 78 N latitude were at least 2800 watt-hours (since that much was absorbed, and there must have been even more losses to freeze the top 1 mm of open water.
    Further, on 22 April, 2800 watt-hours are also absorbed into any exposed Arctic ocean water at the edge of the Arctic sea ice.

    So, between 12 August (DOY = 224) and 22 April (DOY = 112 the next spring), any open Arctic ocean waters caused by sea ice melt can be shown to lose more heat than is gained by absorption of the sun’s energy. For 253 days of the year, less sea ice = more energy losses from the exposed ocean waters.

    For complete accuracy, you need to account for wind speed (which reduces the open ocean calm water albedo, but which also increases heat losses from the open water by increased evaporation and convection), and for diffuse radiation (which, unlike direct radiation, is not dependent on the Solar Elevation Angle of the sun each hour.. However, cloud cover reflects energy from the top of the clouds, so less is present to be absorbed into the wind-swept ocean. Net effect of both items is measurable, but much less compared to direct radiation by itself

    • Climate is so much more than the impact of a trace gas like CO2, it’s about the spinning of the earth, the tilt of the axes, wobbling, sun phases, cosmic radiation, clouds, winds, ocean currents and much, much more. No one can calculate or foresee the future temperatures or climate impacts on us and the global population. We just don’t have enough knowledge at this point…

    • How does Precession affect this complex formulae over the 26,000 year (Milankovitch) cycle? Solar insolation must change significantly in the respective hemispheres over 13,000 years, with varying distance from the Sun to Earth and different angles of incidence at different times of the year at a specific location. Not only the polar regions, but to the entire planet, such as explaining why the Sahara was a wetter grassland savanna just 7,000 years ago. Doesn’t this partially explain ongoing natural climate change, since the planet regresses 50.3 seconds of arc per year, or 1 degree every 71.6 years?

  7. Arctic Science Agreement ‘agreement: US climate scientists say Arctic summer ice will soon disappear, so US does not repair arctic icebreaker Polar Sea, leaving only Polar Star near end of life and having to also service McMurdo resupply in Antarctica. Russian climate scientists produce INM4,the only CMIP5 model tracking observation, with an ECS of 1.4. Russia has recently built 6 nuclear powered Arktika class polar icebreakers—thinking they will be needed.
    So we will come together in agreement, kumbaya.

      • Auto, Polar Sea has been out of service since 2010 in limbo. Obama admin decided to scrap her rather than replace her blown engine about three years ago. Congress objected to scrapping her, but did not fund a rebuild. So she sits unscrapped and unusable but still incurring maintenance costs as a designated ‘parts donor’ to sister ship Polar Star—herself now 41 years in service! Worst of all possible outcomes. Your tax dollars at work. US has effectively ceded the Arctic to Canada and Russia. MAGA.

  8. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up
    with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming,
    water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.

    Excerpt from a book by the Rockefeller funded Club of Rome…

  9. I doubt the Russians will go for “equality”, when they have spent a fortune developing a fleet of huge ice-breakers and we (the US) have spent next to nothing. Our reaping the benefits of their work would be tantamount to Ducky-Lucky telling the Little-Red-Hen, “Yes, I’ll help you eat your bread.”

    In terms of pure science, as conducted by true scientists, there has always been a willingness, and even an eagerness, to exchange ideas. Such exchanges happened, sometimes surreptitiously, even during the Cold War, when the Iron Curtain made knowledge gained by either side “top secret”. Telling the other side how sea-ice was behaving might “give the bad-guys an advantage”.

    Unfortunately science is now corrupted by politics in a different way, and to make a certain point pseudo-scientists will, if not completely fabricate data, promote some data while repressing other data, so the data has a politically effective “spin”. For this reason I would be uncomfortable with any so-called “unification” of scientists. We need many views and Skeptics to point out obvious cases of “spin.”

    Speaking of which, has anyone noticed the arctic sea-ice cameras are not being funded any more? I wonder if they were too liable to let people see certain “spun data” was fabrication. (Spinning does create fabric, in the end.)

  10. So, if the “death spiral” theory of Arctic sea ice melting is true, we should see some results supporting that commonly-held theory if we test it.

    Now, loss of a single “Manhatten-size” iceberg from the tip of a single glacier create instant alarms and scare-filled press releases, right? What would happen if we “lost” (or gained) a sea ice area somewhat larger than Manhattan?

    Something the size of, perhaps, Greenland, for example.

    If that much Arctic sea ice were “lost” suddenly, or were gained suddenly, surely there would be some noticeable effect, right?

    Turns out that nothing happens.

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