Category Archives: Antarctic

Obama’s LOST Legacy: A New World Order

By Peter C Glover
Posted on Jun. 11, 2012

So who cares if Obama wants, as part of his legacy, to do what Ronald Reagan refused to do and sign up the United States to LOST, the UN’s Law of the Sea Treaty? Well if you are a small government, liberty-loving American, or citizen anywhere in the free world, you should. Here’s why.

US ratification of this Treaty would effectively grant governance of the bulk of the world’s surface area, its navigable waterways and access to what lies beneath – i.e. the world’s deepwater energy riches, not only fishing rights – to an unelected, anti-US, rabidly anti-Jewish, anti-free market, anti-capitalist body; where those in the democratic West can easily be outvoted.

Sound good to you?

For many Lost is a far-flung fictional fantasy about people facing a dangerous new world that poses unique threats. LOST also offers a new world of unique threats – but is an only too real, clear and present danger. It just so happens, when it comes to ambitions for an expanded Law of the Sea Treaty, that what is in the best interests of the United States is also in the best interest of the free world. No matter that the much of the rest of the world may have already attempted to sign away some of their sovereign rights under LOST. Quite simply, without US ratification (and its naval power), LOST remains a largely meaningless document. It is essential that it stays that way.

The problem with transnational governance of any kind is that on an administrative level it ties up sovereign claims in bureaucratic red tape for years. Meanwhile the world’s ‘less’ democratic leaders, like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, will do as they always have, ignore them altogether. Russia has effectively already annexed around 60 percent of the Arctic. We’ve all seen the International Criminal Court of Justice in action. Those hauled up before it are far more likely to die of old age than receive justice. Imagine an international tribunal, with all manner of agendas, demanding governments and successful companies stump up billions of dollars in fines, compensations and ‘reparations’ to be ‘redistributed’ at the whim and collusion of some of the world’s leading dictators.

A little harsh? Then consider the UN’s track record.

LOST, the story so far

With bemusing short-sightedness, the key supporters of LOST or, to give it its alternative title, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), are pushing ratification both as a “tool to expand and confirm American sovereignty” and as a “peace tool for the US”. The treaty has been on the books since 1982 garnering wide Western support until Ronald Reagan grounded it perceiving it to be a threat to US sovereign interests. But President Obama, it seems, sees adoption as part of his legacy. In mid-May the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Atlantic Council held a forum at which US politicians, businesses and even national security leaders gave their support to the Treaty. Currently, Senator John Kerry is operating as the administration’s point man. Kerry is holding a series of public hearings to garner further support for the US to ratify LOST. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey (amazingly the US Navy thinks it’s a good idea) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – all avid proponents of adopting the Treaty – have all been called to give evidence.

The thinking runs that the US needs to secure its rights to the vast mineral resources on its extended continental shelf, not least in the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The fact is, however, under existing international law and US policy, America already has access to these areas. And it’s hard to see anyone arguing the fact given US naval clout; which brings us full circle to what’s really going on here. And for those who love liberty and freedom, it turns out to be far more than controlling just US wealth and sovereign rights, as the rush for the Arctic’s subsea energy riches exemplifies.

The USGS estimates that the Arctic has around 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered energy resources, with 84 percent of that figure in deepwater. It is clearly a whole new energy frontier. While various claims to Arctic regions, as well as other energy-rich areas of the world, have been lodged with the UNCLOS, tensions between the Arctic’s littoral states, Russia, Canada, Norway Denmark (Greenland), the US and Iceland have been ratcheting up. with the larger states, particularly Russia, militarizing their claimed regions. The argument from the American left is that as the US has not ratified UNCLOS/LOST it does not have a seat at, what they view, as the UN’s prospective arbitration table. Indeed, the US has notably not submitted any claims to UNCLOS. And without US co-operation any decisions currently made by UNCLOS won’t count for much.

In 2010 I attended the inaugural meeting of The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue which has translated into an annual forum on all matters Arctic hosted by the Russian Geographical Society, sponsored by Putin himself. Those attending included members of another key international forum, the Arctic Council, made up of representatives of all the littoral Arctic states. Bottom line: international ‘jaw-jaw’ forum to deal with everything ‘Arctic’ already exist. So why is a new UN convention with global reach necessary? And who, precisely, thinks it’s a good idea? Let’s take the second issue first.

Usual suspects

Washington Times’ Frank Gaffney describes those pushing for the US to sign up to LOST as “usual suspects – the environmentalists, the one-worlder trans-nationalists, the Obama administration” and other “short-sighted special interests”. Yep, leftwing social engineers all. And US ratification of LOST would give the world’s greatest naval power no more than a single vote at a table chaired by the UN. De-superpowered at a bureaucratic stroke and giving the world’s leading talking shop to rake in a huge ‘tax and penalty’ bonanza from the vast deepwater energy resources on continental shelves.

America signing up to LOST would effectively require it to pay tax royalties to the UN’s International Seabed Authority. It would also become subject to UN powers of arbitration over disputed waters. At whim, the UN bureaucracy could level economic penalties for all sorts of alleged infractions. The UN would, at last, have found a potentially bottomless pit of independent income, mostly at US expense. Greenpeace and other lobbies would salivate at the prospect of suing the US and other countries to force them to sign up to that which has thus far eluded them: a legally-binding climate deal. All in all, ratification of LOST would provide the UN – the same organisation that has elected Iran to the Commission on Women’s Rights and recently invited Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe to become a UN Ambassador – with what the Washington Times’ Ed Fuelner rightly describes as “an economic wrecking ball”.

President Obama may or may not be out of office come November but he wants a lasting, globally-impacting, legacy. And ‘internationalist’ legacies don’t come much bigger than being instrumental in handing governance of seventy percent of the earth’s surface to an unelected Star Chamber, supported and dominated by one world nutjobs, enviro-freaks, international despots and self-aggrandizing bureaucrats.

That’s quite a legacy.

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Amount of Coldest Antarctic Water Near Ocean Floor Decreasing for Decades

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Scientists have found a large reduction in the amount of the coldest deep ocean water, called Antarctic Bottom Water, all around the Southern Ocean using data collected from 1980 to 2011. These findings, in a study now online, will likely stimulate new research on the causes of this change.

Two oceanographers from NOAA and the University of Washington find that Antarctic Bottom Water has been disappearing at an average rate of about eight million metric tons per second over the past few decades, equivalent to about fifty times the average flow of the Mississippi River or about a quarter of the flow of the Gulf Stream in the Florida Straits.

“Because of its high density, Antarctic Bottom Water fills most of the deep ocean basins around the world, but we found that the amount of this water has been decreasing at a surprisingly fast rate over the last few decades,” said lead author Sarah Purkey, graduate student at the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. “In every oceanographic survey repeated around the Southern Ocean since about the 1980s, Antarctic Bottom Water has been shrinking at a similar mean rate, giving us confidence that this surprisingly large contraction is robust.”

Antarctic Bottom Water is formed in a few distinct locations around Antarctica, where seawater is cooled by the overlying air and made saltier by ice formation. The dense water then sinks to the sea floor and spreads northward, filling most of the deep ocean around the world as it slowly mixes with warmer waters above it.

The world’s deep ocean currents play a critical role in transporting heat and carbon around the planet, thus regulating our climate.

While previous studies have shown that the bottom water has been warming and freshening over the past few decades, these new results suggest that significantly less of this bottom water has been formed during that time than in previous decades.

“We are not sure if the rate of bottom water reduction we have found is part of a long-term trend or a cycle,” said co-author Gregory C. Johnson, Ph.D., an oceanographer at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. “We need to continue to measure the full depth of the oceans, including these deep ocean waters, to assess the role and significance that these reported changes and others like them play in the Earth’s climate.”

Changes in the temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and dissolved carbon dioxide of this prominent water mass have important ramifications for Earth’s climate, including contributions to sea level rise and the rate of Earth’s heat uptake.

“People often focus on fluctuations of currents in the North Atlantic Ocean as an indicator of climate change, but the Southern Ocean has undergone some very large changes over the past few decades and also plays a large role in shaping our climate,” said Johnson.

The data used in this study are highly accurate temperature data repeated at roughly 10-year intervals by an international program of repeated ship-based oceanographic surveys. Within the U.S., the collection of these data has been a collaborative effort of governmental laboratory and university scientists, funded primarily by NOAA and the National Science Foundation. However, much of the data used in this study were measured by international colleagues.

“Collection of these data involves 12-hour days, seven days a week, of painstaking, repetitive work at sea, often for weeks on end with no sight of land. We are grateful for the hard work of all those who helped in this effort,” said Purkey.

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NOAA

This Enormous Mass Of Floating Antarctic Algae Can Be Seen From Space

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Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience | Mar. 7, 2012, 8:48 PM

An enormous algae bloom off the coast of Antarctica is so huge and colorful that it can easily be seen from space.

A stunning photo of the monster algae bloom was released March 4 by the Australian Antarctic Division.

The bloom hugs the coast of eastern Antarctica and has been present since mid-February. Marine glaciologist Jan Lieser of the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center (ACE) in Australia said in a statement that the event is remarkable.

“We know that algal blooms are a natural occurrence down south —it’s just a part of the Southern Ocean,” Lieser told Australian website The Conversation. “But I’ve never seen one on this scale before. It’s been going on for about 15 days now, so it’s maybe about two-thirds or three-fourths of the way through the cycle.”

The bloom stretches about 124 miles (200 kilometers) east to west and 62 miles (100 km) north to south. The image of this gigantic bloom was taken by the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instrument aboard NASA’s Earth-orbiting Terra satellite; together with the Aqua satellite, Terra views Earth’s entire surface every one to two days, acquiring data in several wavelengths of light.

On Feb. 27, MODIS spotted another Antarctic phytoplankton bloom, this one off the coast of the Princess Astrid Coast.

Algae blooms like these are triggered when a combination of sunlight and nutrients create fertile conditions. In the Southern Ocean, iron is the limiting nutrient, according to ACE. When iron concentrations are high enough, algae blooms follow.

This particular bloom is thought to be made up of phaeocystis, a single-celled algae well-known in polar areas. Algae also live on land in the Antarctic, sometimes in concentrations high enough to color snow banks red, green and orange. Australian research vessel Aurora Australis is venturing near the Antarctic bloom so scientists can collect samples of the algae.

Algae is the base of the ocean food chain, and in the Southern Ocean, as is the case elsewhere, they take up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide as they photosynthesize and grow. But massive blooms occasionally cause trouble. Some species of algae produce neurotoxins that are deadly. Humans who eat shellfish that have fed on Alexandrium catanella, the algae responsible for “red tides,” can die of paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Some researchers even suspect that algae poisoning contributed to all five of Earth’s great mass extinctions, which killed off between half and 90 percent of all animal species when they occurred. According to this controversial theory, there were increased levels of algae in at least four of the five mass extinctions in Earth’s history. A cataclysmic event such as a volcanic eruption or asteroid impact could have stressed the algae, causing them to release more toxins and further harm the ecosystem.

You can follow LiveScience senior writer Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.

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