Tag Archives: science

Canada in the news

The polar bear ban was defeated at CITES in Bangkok; the Canadian government & the Inuit people were against the ban.

In other news, a study suggests that the Canadian Arctic Archipelago could lose up to a fifth of its volume if global warming keeps up as predicted. A major problem is the lack of mapping of the region, which the rapid changes make even harder to track.

Decline in the Arctic Cover & What it Means

As made clear by the latest data from the Cryosat mission the sea-ice cover during the autumn season is down a third & almost 10% for the winter period. The most affected region is the north of Greenland & the Canadian archipelago.  It’s too early to forecast long term trends for the time being, but given time the investigators will have a clearer picture.

In a recent article from Feb 9th, the Economist looks at the economic implications of the shrinking ice sheet. The obvious answer to this situation is that smaller ice covering equals greater  economic opportunities. The real answer, however, seems to be it depends. It’s a resounding yes for oil & gas as well as other mineral resources. Warming the ice desert ought to open up new fishing zones.

That at least is the common thinking, but as the article goes on to show, that might not be the case. There are three main reasons why we’re not going to see more fish in the Arctic Ocean despite global warming.

First, forget the increase in plankton  even if it’ll help some fish. The Arctic is too deep for most species for them to survive.

Second, warm water absorbs more CO2 & that in turn produces more carbonic acid. Less ice means more exposed water to absorb the CO2. Acidic waters weakens shell, as well as less food.

The last reason is stratification: seawater separates into layers & an increase in stratification diminishes the level of nutrients in the layers.

For more details, see Paul Wassmann &  Jean Éric Tremblay.