Arctic: thawed or frozen?

As transmits "Gismeteo"According to American scientists - those who have been studying sea ice in the Arctic for years, by the 2050 in the summer, the Arctic Ocean can be crossed without fear of colliding with the ice. That is, to put it simply, instead of icebreakers you can go there by boats and yachts. Maybe travel agencies will be interested in new routes in which solariums in hotels will be irrelevant. Those of the scientists whom colleagues attribute to pessimists claim that the Arctic ice will melt in the next decade. That is, northern tour operators should hurry with booklets, network advertising and diversify business: open trade in swimsuits, sunblock creams and ice cream.

Scientific explanations for the speedy melting were given by the staff of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These comrades, as reported by Gismeteo, note: the rapid melting of Arctic ice is the surest indicator of global climate change. According to scientists, this leads to shifts in ecosystems, including significant changes in weather conditions throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

Americans believe that humanity should adapt to the coming global changes. True, it is impossible to accurately predict the change scenario. And therefore, American researchers have proposed three scenarios. And the first of them, it seems, was just pessimists.

According to their assumptions, almost all Arctic ice will melt by 2020 year. Only some glaciers will survive in the northern regions of the Canadian Archipelago and Greenland.

The second scenario was composed by pessimists in half with optimists. A reasonable compromise was found. According to this scenario, it will take ten years more to melt the ice: the Arctic will change to 2030. Scientists support this version by the fact that large losses of Arctic ice were previously observed not as a continuous phenomenon, but as cyclical, occurring with an interval of 5-7 years.

The optimistic Arctic scenario devotes years to the process of complete melting of the ice of 40-50. After the 2040 of the year, according to the forecast of American optimists, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere will reach a peak, and this, among other things, will lead to an unprecedented heating of the Arctic.

But even here the voices of pessimists erupted: scientists have reminded that because of the unwillingness of mankind to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, the process of melting in the Arctic in the coming decades may even accelerate.

In April, an international conference entitled “Ensuring Technogenic-Ecological Safety in the Arctic: Solutions” was held in Salekhard. It was attended by representatives of the Arctic Council member states, reports with reference to the press service of the governor of YaNAO.

The report “Resource Development of the Arctic and the Conservation of Arctic Ecosystems” was made by the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Denis Khramov. Speaking about the coming warming in the Arctic, he noted: “Another pressing issue is global warming in the Arctic. Over the past 30 years, the ice cover has decreased in 2 times. I hope that the fruitful and constructive cooperation of the Arctic Council member states in the field of environmental protection will allow us to preserve the Arctic ecosystems. ”

Comrade Khramov reminded those present the main parameters of the Arctic zone. Its area is 18% of the territory of the Russian Federation and 28% of the world's Arctic possessions. The region has 594 oil deposits, 159 gas deposits, 2 nickel deposits and more 350 gold deposits. The main participants in the development of mineral resources in the Arctic: Russia, USA, Norway, Canada. The deputy minister said that this year it is planned to prepare an updated application for submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Also, as he writes "Russian newspaper", Denis Khramov announced that in 2013, work will be carried out to eliminate pollution on the Russian Arctic islands. The total amount of pollution should be reduced, as in the 2012 year, by 8000 tons, while technical rehabilitation of the territories should be carried out on an area of ​​34 hectares. “The mineral resource base of the Arctic has a huge potential, which should be a driver for the development of remote and inaccessible regions of the country, the development of industry, and the strengthening of Russia's strategic positions,” comrade Khramov noted.

Russia demonstrates responsible environmental management, regulated by the Program for the Elimination of Sources of Negative Impacts on Contaminated Areas of the Archipelago to 2020.

Analyst Andrei Milovzorov ( believes that the main message driving the bustle around the Arctic - the statement "The Arctic Thaws" - remains quite controversial.

Most plans for the development of Arctic resources are based on the assumption that there will be warmer: the navigation period will be extended, the ice over the oil and gas fields will disappear, and the cold lands will be covered with lush greenery. Western science trumpets catastrophic climate warming.

But not all the results of scientific studies confirm such conclusions. Scientists at the Pulkovo Observatory say solar activity is waning. Therefore, literally from next year, the average annual temperature on the planet will begin to fall, and after some time another “small ice age” may begin (the previous one happened at the end of the 17th century).

In this case, writes A. Milovzorov, not only the pole, but also a large part of the Northern Hemisphere will be covered with ice. About mastering the wealth of the Arctic will have to forget a hundred years.

The very likely stopping of the Gulf Stream, caused by the melting of the Arctic ice and the desalination of the waters of the northern seas, can also lead to a cooling down.

A report on the future migration of people from the North Atlantic to North Eurasia, released at the end of 2011 of the London School of Economics and the American Brookings Institute, also speaks about the likelihood of global cooling that may occur instead of global warming.

According to the authors of the study, the analyst recalls, the new “outcome” will be caused by a geoclimatic catastrophe, from which representatives of the Euro-American civilization, turned into ordinary refugees, will seek salvation in a large and rich in natural resources of Russia.

And you say - warming!

With regard to the alleged development of the Arctic resources, expert Pavel Razuvaev spoke on this subject (IA "Sever-Press"). He recalls that Russia is the leader in reserves and resources of oil and gas in the Arctic. Russian gas reserves are currently estimated at 91,3% of the reserves discovered in all five Arctic countries. The Kara, Pechora and Barents seas contain a total of about ten trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

What prevents Russia from starting hydrocarbon production in the Arctic? Comrade Razuvaev is also inclined to think about the coming “ice age”.

"... By the way, last year the lowest ice cover in the Arctic was recorded for the entire history observations. From this the easiest way to conclude that the era of warming is inexorably approaching the planet. But, according to many scientists, the situation is just the opposite. The point of maximum warming of the Earth is passed, and the cooling phase begins. However, do not rush to stock up on fur coats, this process is very inertial, lengthy. And, alas, now no one can predict it accurately. But the further development of the countries of the Arctic region directly depends on this. ”

Could the Arctic be completely and completely frozen? Will it be possible to start large-scale development of oil and gas resources in the near future? The author of the material writes that the answer to these questions was not found either abroad or in Russia.

Comrade Razuvaev highlights other risks for hydrocarbon production. Among the first - earthquakes. Norwegian scientists have published data that indicate that many earthquakes occur in the Arctic. But they are not determined by Russian seismic stations. Nobody has thoroughly studied the low-amplitude earthquakes in the Arctic. But, the author notes, any oil and gas project such inattention can lead to disaster.

Another factor that has to be taken into account is the negative temperature of the water - down to minus two degrees. This creates tremendous problems for the production of hydrocarbons. But you should take into account the permafrost.

“Natural processes that have not even been properly studied, lead to the fact that in many areas there is a strong outgassing,” said Vasily Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Institute of Oil and Gas Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “Now an expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences is being conducted to study this phenomenon.”

“What do we have in the end? The combination of natural and economic problems of the development of the Arctic forced to postpone indefinitely the development of the Shtokman field. Now Russia and Norway are starting exploratory exploration on the Fedynsky Code. Its area is much larger than Stockman, and here, with a high degree of probability, they expect to find not only gas, but also oil. Hydrocarbons are actively produced on Sakhalin. And it even allowed Japan to refuse to import a significant amount of them from Alaska. The Yamal LNG is moving by leaps and bounds to the first day of its industrial operation. Last year, the piloting of the Ob River along the Northern Sea Route proved its exceptional economic benefits. However, it should be borne in mind that the main pollution of the seas does not occur during the extraction of oil and gas, but during their transportation. No technology can protect the Arctic from a person who, as we know, is prone to make mistakes. And the statistics inexorably proves that the notorious human factor is guilty of fifty-five percent of cases of tanker accidents. ”

An example is the Shell expedition to the Chukchi Sea. The company was preparing for it for 6 years and spent more than 4,5 billion dollars on it. But one of the rigs was cast ashore. As a result, not a single well was drilled.

“I would not like to adopt such foreign technologies,” writes Razuvayev. He recalls that Russia will have to create a new Arctic fleet. Today, almost all wells on the Sakhalin shelf are drilled with Chinese and Korean platforms. For drilling at the Dolginskoye field, Gazprom Neft signed an agreement with a Romanian company.

"... And the Romanians are already boasting that they are beginning to work in the Arctic, despite the fact that their drilling was created for the southern regions and is absolutely not adapted for the North."

And yet the author ends the article on an optimistic note. In his opinion, Russia has hope for a safe and cost-effective development of the Arctic. Gazflot conducted a geological survey campaign in the Gulf of Ob and Taz and on the shelf of the Kara Sea. The increase in gas reserves in these areas for a decade of work amounted to more than 2 trillion. cc m

In the hope of warming, Russia is fighting in the United Nations for expanding the external borders of the Arctic shelf. According to Arctic Info With reference to Golos Rossii, this year Russia plans to file an application to the UN Commission on extending the boundaries of the shelf beyond the 200-mile economic zone established by the Maritime Convention 1982 of the year. If our scientists succeed in proving that the Mendeleyev Ridge and the Lomonosov Ridge continue the Russian continental shelf, the country will have a priority right to develop these areas. According to the head of Rosnedra, Alexander Popov, performed by the department in 2010-2012. High-latitude exploration expeditions in the Arctic provide a chance to entrust the Russian Federation with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, 1,2 million square meters. km

Arthur Chilingarov, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic, specified recently that Russia intends to submit to the United Nations a modified application for expanding the external borders of the Arctic shelf. He noted that the application will be filed with the UN only when Moscow is confident of success.

“We cannot submit an application without being at 100% confident of a positive result. Therefore, another expedition is needed in 2013, ”said Chilingarov in an interview with the Voice of Russia correspondent.

Andrei Milovzorov ( specifies that for more than ten years Russia has been trying to prove that the Arctic submarine ridges of Mendeleev and Lomonosov are the “protrusions” of the continental shelf, continuing the continental Siberian plate. If this is recognized as a scientific fact, Russian hydrocarbon reserves will increase by 5-10 billion tons of standard fuel.

However, in the 2013 year, applications will be prepared with Denmark and Canada. These countries also claim part of the mentioned submarine ridges. A. Milovzorov writes that the UN Commission deliberately “slowed down” the course of the Russian application in order to consider all three simultaneously. Shelf will get to those whose arguments seem members of the UN Commission more convincing.

Thus, the future of the Arctic is unclear in many ways. First, in the climate: some scientists insist on the coming warming, others argue that to be on Earth a new cooling, almost an “ice age” —and such that the inhabitants of other countries of the G-7 will become refugees and try to survive in Russia Secondly, the risks of developing the natural resources of the Arctic are extremely high: from sub-zero temperatures and earthquakes to the human factor threatening the environment. Thirdly, decisions on UN applications will not do without political arguments, which are likely to go ahead of scientific ones.

In any case, most of the mining projects are based on forecasts of imminent warming. In the case of a global cooling, the crowd who want to cut the Arctic into pieces will noticeably thin.

Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
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