arctic ice

Melting Arctic opens new frontier

The excerpt below is from an article originally published on by Deborah McDermott.  [LINK]

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, in recent years has devoted considerable energy and focus on the Arctic — and for many reasons that dovetail with his personal convictions and his political expertise.
His credentials as founder of the Senate Arctic Caucus, a member of the multi-nation Arctic Council and a member of the Senate Climate Action Task Force sum up his efforts: Focus attention on the causes and results of climate change, while pragmatically realize the melting Arctic ice is creating trade, energy, commercial, defense and recreational challenges and opportunities not possible until now.
And at least some of those opportunities, he argues, can redound to the benefit of Maine.
King has already traveled to Iceland and Arctic Canada, and last week returned from a three-day fact finding trip to Greenland, which he called the figurative “canary in the coal mine” of climate change.
“I returned from this trip considerably more concerned than I was before I went there,” he said. “It was very sobering. We were on the Jakobshavn Glacier, which has retreated as much in the last 10 years as it had in the past 100 years. That’s just scientific fact.”

Maine Maritime begins training merchant marines for Arctic ice

The excerpt below is from an article originally published on WSCH6 and written by Don Carrigan, WCSH.  [LINK]

CASTINE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The first training program in the United States for navigating Arctic ice has been developed by Maine Maritime Academy.
Students at MMA just completed the first semester-long class, developed by Capt. Ralph Pundt, a retired merchant marine tanker captain and professor at MMA.
The new program was created at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard as part of a Dept. of Homeland Security grant to the University of Alaska and Maine Maritime.
"The ice is disappearing quickly," says Pundt about Arctic ice that has been steadily retreating as temperatures in that region become warmer.
He says the fabled Northwest Passage, a shortcut from Atlantic to Pacific that was once impossible to navigate, has now become a summer reality. Because sailing that route could dramatically shorten the time for ships to cross from Europe or the east coast of the U.S. to Asia, Pundt and the students say the Coast Guard wants officers in the merchant marine to be trained to handle the Arctic ice.