UPDATE - 8/28/12 - see link at bottom
This is a must read for anyone who is interested in either international affairs, ecological threats or climate issues. The changes that are taking place in the Arctic will have great impact on the rest of the world. Alun Anderson offers a look at various aspects of that change with an eye to the potential dangers and benefits.
Anderson looks first at the people who inhabit the north, the Inuit, whether in Canada, Greenland, the USA or Russia, reports on the issues faced by local residents, their hopes for the future and the challenges they face.
Next he writes about the alarming decline in arctic ice coverage, looking at several of the factors that contribute to the change. The obvious decreases in area covered by ice does not take account of the decrease in ice depth or age. New ice is shallower, more susceptible to melting and, being lighter, is more easily pushed to warmer seas by arctic winds.
How will Arctic territorial claims by the several nations with Arctic borders be resolved? How much of the Arctic is national territory and how much is international waters? Who will have a say in how conflicting claims are resolved?
Oil drilling in the Arctic. Is it possible? If so, how will it be done, how much, by whom, with what benefits and what risks.
So much information here, and so many questions. There are opportunities to adapt, but the potential dangers are, well, chilling.
10/18/11 - NY Times article - Warming Revives Dream of Sea Route in Russian Arctic
05/06/12 - The scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology have come up with yet more confirmation for global warming
being the cause of Arctic de-icing.
5/23/2012 - Obama OKs Arctic Drilling
7/2/2012 - What to expect with spills in the Arctic - Shell Clarifies: It can 'Encounter' 95 Percent of an Arctic Oil Spill, Not Collect It
8/28/2012 - NY Times article - Satellites Show Sea Ice in Arctic Is at a Record Low