By Tom Fries The Arctic This Week - 30 June to 6 July 2012
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Thanks for joining us this week! We take the time to find the most interesting stories, the best writing and the threads that tie it all together. If you like what you read, please share it with others. Your feedback and comments are always welcome; feel free to contact the author directly. All opinions and any mistakes are the author’s own.
READS OF THE WEEK
Though there was much excellent writing elsewhere this week, three articles on whaling and fishing stood out in particular. The first, from the BBC, dispassionately covers the content, key issues and history of the International Whaling Commission’s recent meeting. It should be accompanied by the condemnatory analysis of the Greenland/Denmark request for an increased quota by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. Upon finishing these two articles, those of you not intimately involved with whaling as an issue will know a great deal more about it than you have before. The third article, from the Seattle Times, covers the implementation of catch-share programs for some fisheries in the US. It may be lopsidedly positive, but it’s detailed and nicely-written, and it gives one a ray of hope that good management may yet be able to save some things worth saving.
BLOOD & TREASURE
Military news was thin on the ground this week. The Telegram announced the current or upcoming departures for Arctic waters of the Canadian Coast Guard’s CCGS Terry Fox, CCGS Henry Larsen and CCGS Louis S St-Laurent, to be followed eventually by CCGS Des Groseilliers, CCGS Pierre Radisson and CCGS Wilfrid Laurier. In Finland, new defense minister Carl Haglund expressed reserved support for the idea of NATO-led monitoring of Iceland’s airspace (YLE). In Russia, Atomflot is preparing to build the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker, capable of cutting through 4m-thick ice, at a cost of $1.1bn (RT). Barents Observer reminds us that there are four other diesel-powered icebreakers under construction in Russia’s Baltic shipyards, as well as offering slightly different figures than Russia Today on the details of the planned nuclear-powered vessel. Also in Russia, the debate over the financing of Soviet-era military towns simmers, with federal and local authorities trying to keep funds while offloading responsibility (BO).
THE POLITICAL SCENE
The EU’s newly-released Joint Communication “Developing a European Union Policy toward the Arctic Region” covers its thoughts on the Arctic and the EU’s future role there; the release drew more attention than any other single bit of political news this week. You probably ought to scan both the overview from the European External Action Service and a distillation of the contents of the memorandum from Arctic Portal, but you’ll get the most value from a spot-on analysis of what is – and isn’t – changed by the memorandum, published by Kathrin Keil and Andreas Raspotnik earlier this week on TAI. The EU’s press release is here, the document itself is here, and a brief set of basic questions-and-answers can be found here.
Between the various Arctic governmental actors there exists a web of connections that provides ceaseless fodder for foreign-policy speculation. Roland Paris, on the Canadian International Council website, provides this week a stinging and fun-to-read critique of an article by Derek Burney and Fen Osler Hampson published on the Foreign Affairs website. Mr Paris’s assessment of the US-Canada relationship has the clear ring of truth to this reader’s ear, at least. Russia’s Pravda (no reliable source for excellent writing, but here it is anyway) meanwhile published an article supporting Michael Byers’s recent writing on the wisdom of a Russia-Canada alliance of interests in the Arctic. Russia-Norway cooperation was perhaps marginally enhanced by a photo-op meeting in Moscow between Russia’s Ambassador at Large for Arctic Cooperation, Anton Vasiliev, and the County Governor of Finnmark, Runar Sjåstad (BO), while Chinese-Icelandic cooperation might be appreciably strengthened by Iceland’s role as the ultimate landing point for the Xue Long, which left Qingdao on its way to traverse the Northern Sea Route. It’s expected to make land in Reykjavik in August (Arctic Portal). Chinese Arctic machinations more generally are covered quite hawkishly on defensenews.com.
If wonkier material floats your boat, turn to a recent article in the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal (not free) by Andrea Charron, Joël Plouffe and Stéphane Roussel covering Canada’s Arctic policy in a conversation dominated by Russia. You might also enjoy the Valdai Club’s newly released report suggesting a refocusing of Russia’s attention to its Asian neighbors, or take a few engaging minutes to watch a new video on Arctic issues from Bruce Jones via Brookings.
Moving now to politics within national borders, we heard this week that new governor of the Murmansk region Marina Kovtun is losing no opportunity to critique the condition in which her new fiefdom was delivered to her by her predecessors (BN). The city is in the economic doldrums, certainly, but it is in good company; a piece from the Moscow Times pointed out that 50% of the giant country’s GDP comes from just six regions (out of 83 total). In the US, you would have to get down through 10-11 states before reaching that percentage of GDP.
Moving west, the finance minister of Iceland Oddny Hardardottir announced that the country would not be completely removing its capital controls for years to come (IceNews). The Canadian government meanwhile has been assessed a CAD$14.8mn judgment for failing to fill its obligations under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (ablawg.ca, full judgment here), while the Government of Nunavut and the (now former) Deputy Minister of the Department of Community and Government Services Kathleen Lausman seem to have parted ways unexpectedly with no love lost on either side (NN). In Whitehorse, the two-term mayor Bev Buckway has announced she will not run for a third term (CBC). Finally, in Alaska, a blistering piece from Tony Hopfinger on the tense relationship between Alaska’s oil companies and Alaska Dispatch itself is worth the (long) read.
I was about to mentally deposit this article without ceremony in the “general environmental hand-wringing” category, which category seems very popular in the Twitterverse, but I was surprised to see, late in the article, actual recommendations for the future shape of Arctic governance. My thanks to Richard Steiner for the concrete suggestions regarding the appropriate composition and power structure of the Arctic Council and his creative idea for the creation of an Arctic Offshore Petroleum Institute, modeled on similar organizations managing nuclear power (HuffPo).
Whether the deluge of press about Shell’s progress on its Alaska projects is a sign of looming disaster or not, I cannot say. That deluge has, at the very least, included some comprehensive and well-written coverage, including from Rigzone, that puts everything in context. Shell’s initial plans to start drilling ASAP have been delayed – the persistence of ice in waters off of Alaska has caused the company to postpone until the first week of August the departure date for the 22 ships headed off as drill and support vessels (Reuters). That leaves a short window of activity, as drilling in the Chukchi must stop by late September and in the Beaufort by 31 October. Further delays might follow if the spill-cleanup barge Arctic Challenger is not cleared shortly by the Coast Guard (LA Times).
Why persist in the face of such a short window? Shell officials suggest that the chances of “striking gold” in Alaskan waters are excellent in comparison with usual chances – 50/50 (worthwhile read from AD). But a piece from Richard Harris of NPR covering the training for Shell’s oil-spill responders leaves one sort of cringing in anticipation of what might happen if their services were actually needed – sounds like it’s sort of a clumsy process even on sunny, calm days with clear water. Two other pieces, one from thinkprogress.org and one from the Washington Post, scratch through the polish of Shell’s corporate language to expose a worrying what-we-heard-vs-what-they-said detail: the company says it can “encounter” 95% of any spill before it reaches shore, but not actually recover it. “We never make claims about the percent we could actually recover, because conditions vary, of course” says Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith, quoted in the article. The training covered by Mr Harris is taking place in Valdez, Alaska, while other equipment-testing is going on in the waters of Puget Sound off of Seattle. The capping technology being tested there is one small cog in the machine of Shell’s “strategy of making big bets on technology,” according to a consultant from PFC Energy quoted in the Financial Times. Ultimately, these challenges may not be the greatest that Shell must overcome. Putting the infrastructure in place to get any product from the Chukchi Sea to market will be a legal grand battle that may make the offshore permitting process look like a walk in the park (EOTA).
Carey Restino of the Arctic Sounder suggests that, if we are determined to drill in the Arctic, greater and earlier investments in better spill-cleanup technology are crucial. This perspective was amplified by a recent report out of the Government Accountability Office saying that the effectiveness and negative consequences of using mass volumes of dispersants underwater in the Arctic are completely unknown (theeagle.com). One company at least, with the support of the Canadian government, is investing in development of better dynamic positioning systems for Arctic deployment (Kongsberg). Meanwhile the National Academy of Sciences in the US is making a heroic effort to assess the state of oil-spill response and preparedness in US Arctic waters – the organization’s reputation will make such research hard to ignore. Complementary research into the distinct difficulties of Arctic drilling was released earlier this year by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.
It’s not Shell’s planned Alaska work so much as the protest against it (Aiko Stevenson in the Huffington Post) that has really driven most of the press coverage. The US Coast Guard’s establishment of a 500m safety zone applicable to each of the ships in Shell’s flotilla has raised the hackles of Greenpeace (commondreams.org), and Shell’s legal efforts to obtain and sustain an injunction against potential protesters seem only to increase their ire (fuelfix.com). Greenpeace’s ship the Esperanza took off for Alaskan waters to accompany and monitor Shell’s flotilla this week, as part of which it will be using two small submarines to explore underwater canyons. The Coast Guard warns that is has no capability to rescue the small submarines if something should go awry underwater (Juneau Empire, KUCB). Meanwhile the hacker collective Anonymous (or an apparent affiliate, CyberZeist) added its own efforts to the struggle, hacking into ExxonMobil’s systems and using employees’ email IDs to sign Greenpeace’s petition against Arctic drilling (Examiner). Greenpeace also added another video to its library. After its recently-released video pitching an Arctic sanctuary, it’s now produced a new clip featuring the star power of Radiohead and Jude Law. The new film features a homeless polar bear nosing its way hopelessly through the urban dystopia of London. Heather Exner-Pirot of Eye on the Arctic shared her own thoughts on the campaign and what she sees as its misguided nature; I can only say that I agree with her that “limitations on the supply of a product are fairly useless if demand is not addressed,” and that there are two sides to this coin. In a similar vein, the Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat of the Arctic Council covered, in a rudimentary way, the unsexy and coverage-poor issue of financing: unless there’s money from shareholders and customers that supports this wildly expensive and risky drilling, it doesn’t happen. Firmly on the Greenpeace side of things, actress Lucy Lawless’s charming, compelling and captivating interview with the Guardian is well worth a read.
Activity at the policy level also drew attention this week, as the Canadian government awarded extensions to exploration licenses in Arctic waters (EOTA). Mark Begich, Democratic Senator from Alaska, expressed his feeling that the progress in development of Arctic hydrocarbon resources is a political win for President Obama (The Hill). It is certainly a financial win for the federal government, and Alaska is beginning to get cranky about the fact that royalties from Shell developments will not, under current law, go into Alaskan coffers (EOTA). The government simultaneously announced that it would sell new exploration leases for the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, though those leases would not go into effect until 2016 (CNN Money).
Briefly, in other US news, Shell’s competitor and sometime-partner BP announced this week that it had chosen to pull back from its Liberty project in the Beaufort Sea on Alaska’s North Slope, apparently because the rig it planned to use isn’t up to snuff in a timely fashion (AD). Meanwhile, shale formations similar to the famed Bakken shale in North Dakota are being tested on the North Slope, south of the Prudhoe Bay field, by Great Bear Petroleum (Platts).
Across the ocean in Norway, a recent survey suggests that 62% of Norwegians would prefer that the country decelerate its drilling efforts (newsinenglish.no). Oil workers themselves are also putting the brakes on with strikes and so on, but the stakes have been raised substantially by the oil industry; the industry will be locking out 6,515 offshore workers as of 10 July (Reuters). Exchanges of interest in Barents licenses PL490 and PL492 by partners Noreco, Lundin and Spring also garnered attention this week, though I cannot interpret what exactly is being said (Reuters, MarketWatch). You may be better-able to understand what a “farmout agreement” is than I am; take a look at the definition from Schlumberger.
Norway’s neighbor Russia is on track for the highest production of oil since the Soviet era this year (Chicago Tribune), while the gas industry continues to wail and gnash its teeth over increases to official taxation levels (Rus Business News). Gazprom is meanwhile considering an expansion of the Sakhalin LNG plant to better-serve Japanese markets (Reuters), though it announced in a shareholders’ meeting that a hypothetical pipeline to Tokyo is now off the table (MT). In a general sense, getting LNG to growing Asian markets seems to be a competitive race between Russia, the US and Australia. In other Russian energy news, TNK-BP is considering getting involved with the Baltic Sea Nord Stream gas pipeline project (Platts), and a solar plant – the third such in the republic – came on-line in Yakutia this week (ITAR-TASS).
Norilsk Nickel may be closing up portions of its production facility on the Kola Peninsula because of dropping prices; the article from Moscow Times has a real wealth of information and is worth your time to read. An equally high-quality article from Barents Observer highlights the potential shift to production of cobalt in the mine, as well as more clearly illustrating that the problem is primarily one of quality with locally-available ore. In Canada, Areva and the Nunavut Impact Review Board were the lucky recipients of 415 separate requests for more detailed information on the proposed Kiggavik uranium mine (NN), while Canada Coal is enjoying a relatively civil discussion with aboriginal communities and scientists regarding proposed coal mining on Ellesmere Island – let us see how long that lasts (NN).
BUSINESS & INDUSTRY
The Northern Sea Route (not including waters west of the Kara Gate) has just received a new legal regime from Russia, including new regulations on insurance coverage and broad guidelines for icebreaker services. Noteworthy is “the establishment of a new Northern Sea Route administration, which is to manage icebreaker and sailing master services, as well as provide radio communication and hydrographic information, organize search and rescue operations and prepare preparedness measures on emergency situations” (BO).
In general business news, Russia is doubtless pleased that an outflow of capital has reversed, bringing $5bn back in to the country in June (BN), but an influx of foreign labor in the Murmansk region appears to be less welcome than it’s been in the past (BN). Murmansk may benefit, though, from increased tourist traffic to Russia’s newest national park, which covers parts of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya (VOR). Indeed, Murmansk is considering upgrading its port to deal with growing cruise-ship traffic (BN). Finland meanwhile is considering how to take advantage of “bling-hungry Chinese mainlanders” shopping while on holiday in the country (YLE).
Fishing news this week was diverse and interesting. Barents Observer looked at the explosion of demand for Norwegian salmon in Russia – a thing unanticipated only a few years ago – while the EU’s fight against Icelandic and Faroese mackerel-fishing practices may lock the islands’ mackerel harvests out of the European market altogether (IceNews). Iceland’s application to the EU may also depend in part on its willingness to manage its fisheries in accordance with the EU’s wishes; a dramatic increase in the price of new fishing licenses for Icelandic fishers may be a gesture of compliance (IceNews). In the US, the implementation of catch-share programs seems, according to this article from the Seattle Times, to be having a wildly positive impact on overfishing, but the unfortunate snow-crab fishing fleet in the Bering Sea claims to have collectively lost 8% of its gear due to heavy ice (!!!!!), a loss of approximately $1mn in equipment and the cause of indeterminate damage to crab populations via “ghost pots” that continue to fish on the bottom of the ocean despite their orphaned condition (KUCB).
On to out-of-the-ordinary fishing, the most recent convening of the International Whaling Committee was an occasion for a lot of fighting over the line between Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling – a significant issue for Arctic communities – and commercial whaling. Reported sales of whale meat in Greenlandic restaurants and shops, extended death throes of up to two hours and a proposal for a South Atlantic no-whaling sanctuary were some of the many topics on the table. Last year’s meeting saw a walkout by pro-whaling nations, and Denmark/Greenland’s request this year for an increase in fin & humpback whale catch quotas (ultimately rejected; see adelaidenow.com, and damningly analyzed by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society) led to a divide between EU nations, which according to rules should be voting as a block. For further detail, a definite read of the week comes from the BBC. Alaskan subsistence-whaling communities were glad to see their existing catch limits upheld (EOTA); they’ll be sharing a quota of 336 whales total over the next six years with Russia (EOTA). Wendy Eliott of the WWF pointed out that subsistence whaling is hardly the biggest issue; 300,000 cetaceans are killed each year accidentally in commercial fishing gear, and the threat from oil and gas activity is now rising as well (Guardian).
Aboriginal subsistence hunting made a surprisingly substantial appearance in this week’s news, mostly as a result of the meeting of the International Whaling Commission (see above section). In Nunavut, the precipitous decline of caribou herds over the past 15 years was given as the reason for a new hunting quota of 1000 animals this year (EOTA) for the community of Coral Harbour. Meanwhile a satirical blog post suggests a future Canadian dystopia of adorable furriness as baby harp seals overrun the nation after the cancellation of Canada’s seal hunt.
Connectivity and infrastructure show signs of slow improvement. The Kativik Regional Government is seeking a sustainable improvement to the telecom network that currently serves Québec’s northern communities (argent.canoe.ca), while Northwestel’s plans to upgrade its network (3G, 4G and internet) to the tune of CAD$270mn over the next 5 years would mean that basic necessities like food, water, shelter and iPhones would now be equally available in Canada’s three northern territories (CBC). If I understand it correctly, CAD$40mn of those funds would come from a public-benefit fund required by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission as a condition of the purchase of Astral Media by BCE Inc (NN). But don’t quote me on that.
A new public-private partnership airport to be built in Iqaluit will cost CAD$300mn, but will be a dramatic improvement in air service for the city. Construction is scheduled from 2014 to 2017 (NN). Requirements for upgraded air safety equipment in small planes have also been put in place by Transport Canada for planes flying in wilderness regions (CBC), while Alaska is salivating over the new international tourists to be delivered, piping-hot and ready to spend, by new flights starting this summer from Yakutia Airlines, Korean Air and Japan Airlines (travelagentcentral.com). Among those customers I expect to see none of the 1,000 Air Finland customers currently stranded abroad with no recourse after the airline’s surprise bankruptcy and magical disappearing act earlier this week (IceNews).
The power plant in Iqaluit is scheduled for an expansion, costing CAD$30mn and expected to take about three years (CBC). The Bluefish Hydro Dam that helps to power the Northwest Territories is also due for an upgrade, but that looks suddenly as though it will cost twice as much as originally anticipated (CBC). Funny how one never does hear about projects costing half as much originally planned. Other humble improvements to municipal infrastructure may be supported by Ottawa’s largesse of CAD$6.4mn to be shared between the NWT, Yukon and Nunavut over two years (NN).
Elsewhere in Canada, the tuberculosis outbreak in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik continues to spread, infecting currently eight percent of the population. Numerous social issues as well as medical issues contribute to the epidemic (CBC). Meanwhile the development of a Nunavut Food Security Coalition will hopefully prove a concrete step towards better availability of affordable, healthy food in the region (NN). The NWT meanwhile has the dubious distinction of being the territory in Canada with the highest rates of binge drinking (EOTA). In other social issues, Yukon is pouring CAD$300,000 into reduction of elder abuse in the territory (Whitehorse Star) and the NWT kicked off a new anti-poverty initiative intended to “repair a tattered social safety net for those who need it most” (Bob Simpson, quoted on the Gov’t of NWT website).
In Russia, the community of Teriberka is the recipient of funds from Murmansk authorities; those funds are intended, to all appearances, primarily to finance some sort of employment for the residents, whose hopes for jobs supporting the Shtokman project have been gradually deflated (BN). New governor of Murmansk Marina Kovtun also stands behind the cancellation of the Murmansk cinema festival and the city’s economic forum this year because of lack of funds (BN).
Finally, Craig Medred in Alaska Dispatch bewails – rightfully – the sad condition of Alaska as fertile breeding ground for reality TV shows and stereotypes. The attention is, I’m sure, a blessing and a curse.
ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE and WILDLIFE
The Arctic Council’s next round of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment is the subject of some Alaskan press, as the lead scientist for the Assessment visited Barrow (EOTA). While we’ll all be waiting to hear overall findings on the state of Arctic biodiversity, Alaska’s largest caribou herd is showing an unsettlingly rapid rate of steady decline, losing an estimated 4-6% annually since 2003. This is not unprecedented, but the ecological and cultural importance of the herd makes it a matter for increased scrutiny (AD, alaskapublic.org). Meanwhile the polar bears near Churchill, Manitoba are heading to shore in large numbers as the last of the winter’s ice in Hudson Bay disappears (Polar Bears International), and a brand-new polar bear cub in Finland is, unsurprisingly, doubling the crowds at the park where he resides (YLE). The Norwegian Ornithological Institute came out strongly in support of further research on seabird populations in the Barents before drilling there is permitted, while in smaller, sillier bird news, a “little gym” for rock ptarmigans in a lab on Svalbard has delivered the legitimately surprising news that the animals appear to pay no energetic cost (additional calories spent while running fat vs running skinny) for doubling their winter bodyweight (BBC). Curious! Also amusingly, after residents’ complaints that a trio of beavers living in a subdivision’s pond were causing damage similar to that seen during the Vietnam War, said beavers have been shipped from Yellowknife to a location 30km outside the city (EOTA).
Greenpeace is working with a group of scientists to create the first three-dimensional model of Arctic sea ice (france24.com). Cool project! Record low reflectivity on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet may be leading to a tipping point in which “the summer melt area covers the entire land mass,” says climatecentral.org. Meanwhile “strong ice loss in the Kara, Bering, and Beaufort seas and in Hudson and Baffin bays led the overall [June] retreat” in Arctic ice extent (NSIDC). A detailed review of this and associated observations came, of all places, from the Sydney Morning Herald. How do we know whether glaciers are growing or shrinking? Though it won’t shock you, an entertaining article from Popular Mechanics helps to draw back the curtain on this research. Also worth a read for general value is a recently-released timeline of milestones in climate science from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
A shocking number of science articles this week had to do with outer space. Greenland announced that it is home to the oldest and “largest” (by what measure I do not know) asteroid-impact crater in the world (IceNews, Ole Nielsen’s blog). If you’d like to geek out on other large historical asteroid impacts, enjoy Wikipedia entries on the Vredefort Crater, the Chicxulub Crater, the Sudbury Basin, and the Wilkes Land Crater. In Nunavut, a patch of yellow snow is serving as a laboratory of sorts, as it plays home to the sorts of weird life forms that scientists hypothesize might be found on other planets in our solar system (Montreal Gazette). Finally, the Lena Pillars park in the Sakha Republic has been added to UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites (RIAN).
THE SPORTING LIFE
This week saw the running of the Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromsø, Norway, while a race far south of the Arctic circle in Seward, Alaska, was marred by the strange disappearance of a 66 year old runner, whose whereabouts as of this writing remained unknown (AD). Next door in Yukon, the Yukon River Quest was won by a team of Australians, of all things (Whitehorse Star). In Russia, the Children of Asia International Sports Games began in Yakutsk (Russia & India Report).
THE GRAB BAG
A collection of entertaining, weird or informative news that fits nowhere else…
25 residents of the Northwest Territories were proud recipients of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals for their service to the community (Gov’t of the NWT).
A hoax in Bethel, Alaska resulted in a donation of 10,000 Taco Bell tacos to the town’s residents. A blessing or a curse? (canoe.ca)
The world’s tallest (16 stories) wooden building is slated to be built in Kirkenes, Norway between now and 2014 (woodworkingnetwork.com).
I’ll be honest: I barely read this blog post. But the photo series was captivating (knom.org).
Not planning on ever taking a trip yourself to visit Santa’s village in Finland? Travel virtually with Mark Mayo (blog).
I used to be a rowing coach, and I love the sport, but I don’t know if I would have advised any of my athletes to row 1300 miles across the Arctic, as Paul Ridley, Neal Mueller, Colin West and Scott Mortensen are planning on doing (FNM).
A young woman from Ghana is the youngest person on a Greenpeace-led science expedition to the Arctic (allafrica.com).
The former mayor of Kimmirut, Nunavut has been missing since last November. His remains were found this week (NN).
It’s great that so many humans get to do wonderful things like climb Mt McKinley / Denali, but apparently the mountain now enjoys a foul endowment of 65 tons (tons!) of frozen human poo (AD), which slowly makes its way down the mountain’s glaciers to emerge and thaw, somewhere, at the bottom. Ew.
I wasn’t even aware that Stephen Colbert had asked to manage the @sweden Twitter account for a week, despite not being a Swede, but apparently the VisitSweden officials have (politely, no doubt) declined his request (IceNews).
Norway is not a bargain-basement place to travel, but an absorbing post on travelling as frugally as reasonably possible with parents is worth the read (NYTimes Frugal Traveler blog).
PHOTOS & VIDEOS
Great photos of…
A ship on the Lena River (Instagram, @yakutia)
Alaska, possibly near Pebble Bay (yfrog, shannynmoore)
A Pacific loon , Arctic hares , chicks , other Arctic birds 1, 2, 3 and 4 (flickr, Clare Kines Photography)
A polar bear cub taking a “boat ride” on its swimming mom (from the Daily Mail)
Several awesome pictures of blueberry picking in Alaska (Barbra & Jack Donachy)
Arctic towns (500px, Mads Pihl)
Arctic terns and other birds (pixus.nl, user nieuwe)
The sky in Lapland (instagram, @cowgirrl3)
Surfing in Norway (is that really what it is?) (instagram, @alekparker)
An adorable polar bear cub (Instagram, @meeomiia)
Alaska Dispatch (AD)
Anchorage Daily News (ADN)
Barents Nova (BN)
Barents Observer (BO)
Eye on the Arctic (EOTA)
Fairbanks News Miner (FNM)
Financial Times (FT)
Globe and Mail (G&M)
Huffington Post (HP)
Moscow Times (MT)
Natural Gas Europe (NGE)
New York Times (NYT)
Northern News Service Online (NNSO)
Northern Public Affairs (NPA)
Nunatsiaq News (NN)
Ottawa Citizen (OC)
RIA Novosti (RIAN)
Russia Today (RT)
Voice of Russia (VOR)
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
Washington Post (WP)
Winnipeg Free Press (WFP)