Arctic Offer Cold Storage for Big Data
The BBC reports that a United States-Norwegian partnership called Kolos has released plans for the world’s largest data center, which will be located in Ballangen, Norway. Although the center will initially consume only 70 megawatts of power, Kolos plans to eventually draw more than 1,000MW to power its computer servers. The firm says that the cooler climate and access to hydropower should keep energy costs down.
In fact, the Kolos co-chief executive, Mark Robinson, told the BBC, “It’s quite literally the lowest power cost in Europe – and 100 percent of the power is renewable on one of the most stable grids in the world.”
That low cost may help Kolos compete with larger companies with similar data centers, like Amazon and Google. However, for now, Kolos is still working to raise the remaining money to fund the center’s construction.
Inuit Helped Build a New Arctic Conservation Area
For almost 50 years, Canada’s Inuit and the Canadian government have been at odds over the protection of a major marine area off of the nation’s northern coast. But Eye on the Arctic has reported that the Canadian government, the government of Nunavut and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced an agreement to create a new national marine conservation area. The conservation area will cover more than 131,000 sq km (50.6 sq mi) and will protect major feeding and breeding habitats for polar bears, walruses, bearded seals and bowhead whales.
The designation prevents any exploration or drilling for fossil fuels or mineral resources in the area. Since the 1960s, Inuit groups have been fighting to block oil and gas drilling within the newly protected zone. The agreement does allow for Inuit hunting rights.
The Arctic Holds the Craziest Climate Records from 2016
This week, Climate Central highlighted some recent climate records that have gone underreported. Among them: temperatures across the Arctic spiked to alarming levels in 2016. The ice-free areas of the Barents Sea were 11 degrees C (20F) warmer than average. And waters off of Alaska and Greenland were 10-10.5C (13-14F) warmer than average, and the land surface temperature in the Arctic was 2C (3.6F) warmer than the 1981-2010 average. All of this warming led to the smallest annual winter peak of snow ice ever recorded.
Researchers expect to see an increasingly hotter Arctic, which is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet.
- Washington Post: What It’s like to Ride a 6,000-Ton Icebreaker Through Arctic Waters
- Sierra: Melting Into Alaska’s Thin Air
- The Independent Barents Observer: Statoil Spuds Controversial Prospect in Northern Barents Sea
- New York Times: When Russia Owned Part of America
- CBC News: Inuit Knowledge Helped Discover the Erebus and Terror, Now It Will Help Protect the Sites
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Ballangen.