IMAREST lecture to focus on ArcticNews // August 25, 2008
The ‘New Maritime Arctic’ is the highly topical subject that will come under the lecture spotlight on 8 September 2008 when Dr Lawson Brigham, Chair, Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) and Deputy Director of the US Arctic Research Commission (Anchorage, Alaska), USA delivers the next Stanley Gray Lecture at the headquarters of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) in London.
Arctic Ocean ice cover, which appeared earlier this summer to be headed for a moderate recovery after last year’s record-setting retreat, has begun disintegrating so rapidly in recent weeks that experts now say the ice loss by mid-September could exceed even 2007’s history-making meltdown.
Indeed, the Canadian Ice Service is reporting an “unprecedented” opening of waters in the Beaufort Sea north of the Yukon-Alaska border, where expected increases in ship traffic have just prompted the US Coast Guard to establish two new outposts on Alaska’s north coast to strengthen its vessel-monitoring and search-and-rescue capabilities.
Just a week ago Robin McKie wrote in The Observer: “Ice at the North Pole melted at an unprecedented rate last week, with leading scientists warning that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2013.
Dr Brigham will explore how a reduction in Arctic sea ice during the melt season and rapid technological advances have already combined, leading to rapid development in the circumpolar region and will provide an informative overview of the achievements of the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (2005-2008). He will introduce the social, economic and environmental impacts of shipping in the Arctic today.
He will also take a look into the future of shipping in this rapidly changing region of the Earth. The opportunities and challenges these changes in marine activities represent for governments and local Arctic communities will be discussed alongside a debate of the risks, both to human safety and the environment, of operating in this pristine and demanding region.
“We are delighted that Lawson Brigham will be joining us in early September to share these important findings with our audience,” says Keith Read CBE, Chief Executive of IMarEST.
“The opportunities opening up for the maritime world in the previously ice-bound areas of the Arctic are huge; but it is imperative that the area is treated with great respect both in environmental and safety terms, and we look forward to hearing from Dr Brigham just how the various sectors of the maritime industries should be preparing themselves for the challenges ahead.”
As a US Coast Guard officer for 25 years Dr Brigham sailed on expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic aboard polar icebreakers and served in Washington, DC as chief of the Coast Guard’s strategic planning staff. He has been a contributor to the International Northern Sea Route Programme (INSROP), the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment and to many polar environmental & policy studies. Captain Brigham received his PhD from Cambridge University in the UK and has been a long-term researcher on the Russian Arctic, polar affairs and Arctic climate change.
The Lecture will be delivered at IMarEST, 80 Coleman Street, London EC2R 5BJ. Attendance is free of charge to IMarEST members and non-members alike. The evening begins with tea and networking at 17.00; the lecture starts at 17.30 and the post-lecture reception is at 18.45.