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Summary of Working Paper No. 69-1996

I.7.1: Perspective Research

By V.F. Zakharov, A. Baskin, G.V. Alekseyev, and A.Y. Buzuyev, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), St.Petersburg, Russia; and S. Samonenko, Central Marine Research and Design Institute (CNIIMF), St.Petersburg, Russia

PART I: Changes in Climate, Ice and Shipping Conditions along the NSR during the XXth Century

Part I of the Report contains the results of the studies at the second stage of Project 1.7.1, its ultimate goal being an assessment of possible changes of climate, ice conditions and shipping along the NSR during the forthcoming decade (up to 2005). The need for such an assessment is quite evident. The opinions about the global warming being inevitable as a result of increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, a distinct reduction in sea ice area and the need for a drastic reassessment of the conditions for economic activities in polar waters become increasingly popular. We have to work out our attitude to all these problems. Are we really on the way to an ice-free ocean? And are current changes of climate and ice conditions really consistent with these viewpoints?

The study was planned to be fulfilled in three stages:

1. Review and a critical analysis of the existing understanding of the forthcoming changes in climate and ice conditions along the NSR (April 1993-March 1994);

2. Changes in climate, ice conditions and shipping conditions along the NSR during the XXth century April 1994 - March 1995);

3. Assessment of changes in climate, ice state and shipping conditions along the NSR up to 2005 (from April 1995).

An analysis of the past and present environmental changes performed at the first stage has not revealed any obvious traces of the influence of increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere on climate and ice conditions in the Arctic. Already due to this fact, forecasting of the state of the latter for the immediate 10-15 years cannot be based predominantly on the assumption that future changes will be governed by anthropogenic impact. On the contrary, before finding out the real role of carbon dioxide in the changes of present climate, it is, probably, necessary to assume as before, a precondition of the leading role of factors of natural origin in the environmental evolution. The basic forecasting principle "the past is a key to the future" is still valid during the epoch of industrial development. To investigate typical features in the development of the phenomenon under prediction on the basis of retrospective data is still one of the most important conditions for foreseeing its future state.

PART II: Accurate Positioning in the Arctic

Part II of the report is an attempt of systematization of last achievements of navigational science and technology which can be of use for international shipping in the Arctic, mainly being presented by satellite positioning systems of second generation and electronic charts. This equipment was used for several years on Arctic sea going ships but is not conventional equipment nowadays, an this leads to technical l and juridical troubles.

The work on this part of the Project was executed for two years.

During 1993 the comparative analysis of indoors and sea trials of modern GPS NAVSTAR satellite receivers by different manufacturers. The trials of navigational cartographic systems were carried out in parallel. The Russian Program of implementation of electronic navigation in Arctic shipping was described.

In 1994 (Accurate positioning in the Arctic) the specific features of ice sailing conditions, requiring high positioning accuracy were described. As one of the most convenient aid for solving of this problem the differential version of GPS receiver was considered. The plan of Arctic DGPS development, including creation of beacon stations along the NSR was in view. The results of preliminary trials of beacon stations were analyzed.