Executive Summary for December 30th

We review the latest Arctic news, including a new polar shipping code, Finland becoming much warmer and wetter and a report stating that it’s “extremely unlikely” that recent warm weather near the North Pole has nothing to do with human-induced climate change.

Published on Dec. 30, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Polar Shipping Rules Soon in Effect

A new International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters comes into force in the New Year. Better known simply as the Polar Code, it aims to ensure that ships traveling through polar waters are adequately prepared.

The code spells out detailed requirements for ship design and crew training, in order to ensure safety and to prevent pollution, the CBC reports.

WWF-Canada says the code is a good first step but doesn’t go far enough. The group wants to see the polar code encompass a ban on the use of heavy fuel oils and tough regulations on the discharge of gray water, adding that coastal Arctic communities deserved a say in the code but were never consulted.

The Polar Code was agreed upon in 2014 by the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization.

As Warm as Hungary and as Wet as the U.K.

Finland could see its winter temperatures rise by as much as 10C (18F) by the end of the century, concludes a study by the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

That means the central part of the country’s climate would resemble Hungary today, reports Radio-Canada’s Eye On the Arctic.

The country would also see significantly more rainfall, with parts of the country forecast to receive as much rain as the wettest parts of the British Isles. All those clouds are expected to make Finland considerably darker – researchers say the amount of sunlight could drop by 20 percent in the winter months.

Polar Region’s Warm Spell No Fluke

It’s “extremely unlikely” that weirdly warm weather being experienced in the Arctic this winter isn’t being driven by human-caused climate change, according to a new report by climate scientists.

The report found that this winter’s bizarrely warm weather north of 80 degrees latitude is “unprecedented in the satellite era from 1979 onwards,” reports the Washington Post. At one point, temperatures recently hovered near the melting point near the North Pole.

The study also found it highly unlikely that humans played no role in this warm spell. While a study of such recent events didn’t have time to be peer-reviewed, other climate scientists describe the work as persuasive. Meanwhile, the warming of the Arctic continues to exceed the predictions of scientists.

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