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NASA Finds Russian Runoff Freshening Canadian Arctic

A new NASA and University of Washington study allays concerns that melting Arctic sea ice could be increasing the amount of freshwater in the Arctic enough to have an impact on the global "ocean conveyor belt" that redistributes heat around our planet.
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Arctic sea routes open as ice melts

Two major Arctic shipping routes have opened as summer sea ice melts, European satellites have found.
Data recorded by the European Space Agency's (Esa) Envisat shows both Canada's Northwest Passage and Russia's Northern Sea Route open simultaneously.
This summer's melt could break the 2007 record for the smallest area of sea ice since the satellite era began in 1979.

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Arctic 'tipping point' may not be reached

Scientists say that current concerns over a tipping point in the disappearance of Arctic sea ice may be misplaced.
Danish researchers analysed ancient pieces of driftwood found in Northern Greenland which they say is an accurate way of measuring the extent of the ancient ice loss.
Writing in the journal Science, the team found evidence that sea ice levels were about 50% lower than today when temperatures warmed around 5,000 years ago.
They argue that a tipping point under current scenarios is unlikely, as changes to wind systems can slow down the rate of melting.

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University of Minnesota researchers who map Antarctic are expanding work to include the Arctic

University of Minnesota researchers, who have gained international acclaim for their work mapping the rugged terrain in Antarctica, are now expanding their scope to include research in the Arctic. The work is part of a nearly $4 million, five-year cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF). 
Led by geology and geophysics staff member Paul Morin in the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering, the Polar Geospatial Center (formerly the Antarctic Geospatial Information Centre) will now provide logistical support and training for other researchers studying both of the Earth's poles.

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Arctic Seafloor
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2010 Extended Continental Shelf Project

The 2010 Extended Continental Shelf survey is a 5-week-long expedition involving two icebreakers: U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Healy (at sea August 2 to September 6) and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Louis S. St-Laurent (at sea August 4 to September 14).
This is the sixth in a series of U.S. cruises to the Arctic Ocean and the third in which U.S. and Canadian scientists are working together to map areas of the seafloor and to image the underlying sediment layers. The data will be used to determine the limits of the "extended continental shelf," where coastal nations have sovereign rights over natural resources on and beneath the seabed according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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Catlin Arctic Survey 2010
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Explorers on epic trek to collect Arctic samples for survey

Three British explorers have begun a trek across the floating ice of the Arctic Ocean to collect samples for a scientific mission.
Ann Daniels, Martin Hartley and Charlie Paton landed on the ice after a seven-hour flight by Twin Otter plane from Resolute in northern Canada. They will head north collecting data and samples for the Catlin Arctic Survey 2010, which aims to discover how carbon dioxide is affecting the the seawater.

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Missing 'Ice Arches' Contributed to 2007 Arctic Ice Loss

In 2007, the Arctic lost a massive amount of thick, multiyear sea ice, contributing to that year's record-low extent of Arctic sea ice. A new NASA-led study has found that the record loss that year was due in part to the absence of "ice arches," naturally-forming, curved ice structures that span the openings between two land points. These arches block sea ice from being pushed by winds or currents through narrow passages and out of the Arctic basin.
Beginning each fall, sea ice spreads across the surface of the Arctic Ocean until it becomes confined by surrounding continents. Only a few passages -- including the Fram Strait and Nares Strait -- allow sea ice to escape.

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Melting tundra creating vast river of waste into Arctic Ocean

The increase in temperature in the Arctic has already caused the sea-ice there to melt. According to research conducted by the University of Gothenburg, if the Arctic tundra also melts, vast amounts of organic material will be carried by the rivers straight into the Arctic Ocean, resulting in additional emissions of carbon dioxide.
Several Russian rivers enter the Arctic Ocean particularly in the Laptev Sea north of Siberia. One of the main rivers flowing into the Laptev Sea is the Lena, which in terms of its drainage basin and length is one of the ten largest rivers in the world. The river water carries organic carbon from the tundra, and research from the University of Gothenburg shows that this adds a considerable amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere when it is degraded in the coastal waters.

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Arctic to be 'ice-free in summer'
The Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free and open to shipping during the summer in as little as ten years' time, a top polar specialist has said.

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