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150Mil BC In 1999 Norwegian scientists discovered
an undersea meteor crater in the Arctic Ocean 125 miles north of
Norway that dated to this time. It measured 25 miles wide. The
meteor was estimated at 1 1/4 mile wide traveling at 18,600 mph.
(SFC, 2/9/99, p.A10)
150Mil BC In 2006 researchers in Norway announced
the discovery of the remains of a short-necked plesiosaur, a
prehistoric marine reptile the size of a bus, that they believe is
the first complete skeleton ever found. The 150 million year old
remains of the 33-foot ocean going predator were found on the remote
Svalbard Islands of the Arctic.
55Mil BC Arctic temperatures averaged 74 degrees.
This was part of a planet-wide warming period called the Paleocene
Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).
(SFC, 6/1/06, p.A5)
49Mil BC A giant bloom of the Azolla fern at this
time coincided with one of the biggest climate shifts known. Surface
sea temperature in the Arctic dropped from 13°C to -9°C. In 2014
scientists suspected that the fern bloom was responsible for the
temperature drop as it pulled CO2 from the atmosphere.
(Econ, 6/21/14, p.78)
45Mil BC A planet-wide cooling period began that
led to cycles of ice ages.
(SFC, 6/1/06, p.A5)
3.5Mil BC A brief period of global warming took
place about this time warming the Bering Strait and allowing
hundreds of species of marine life to migrate from the Pacific
through the ice-free Arctic to colonize the Atlantic.
(SSFC, 8/10/08, p.A6)
125k BC A long period of global warming began that
lasted to about 11.5k BC. Polar meltwater raised the sea level by
6/16/12, SR p.7)
28000BC In 2001 Russian and Norwegian
archeologists reported evidence that date to about this time of
humans camped at Mamontovaya Kurya on the Usa River at the Arctic
circle. A tusk was dated at 36,600 years of age and plant remains at
(SFC, 9/6/01, p.E2)
28000BC In 2003 Russian scientists reported
evidence of a hunting site on the Yana River, Siberia, 300 miles
north of the Arctic Circle that dated to about this time.
(SFC, 1/2/04, p.A2)
15000 BC The Barents Sea ice sheet , stretching
from northern England to Siberia, disintegrated in a period perhaps
less than 1000 years, probably because of warming seas.
(Econ, 6/16/12, SR p.7)
1597 Jun 20, Willem Barents,
Dutch explorer who discovered Spitsbergen & Bereneil, died. In
1995 Rayner Unwin authored “A Winter Away from Home," an account of
Barents’ Arctic voyages.
(WUD, 1994 p.120)(SSFC, 12/10/00, p.C17)(MC,
1773 Jun 4, The British Royal
Navy's set out on its first attempt at reaching the North Pole. Two
ships were forced back by the ice and returned to Orford Ness on 17
September. In 2019 Peter Goodwin authored "Nelson's Arctic Voyage:
The Royal Navy’s First Polar Expedition 1773."
1800 Apr 15, James Ross
discovered the North Magnetic pole.
1831 May 31, Captain John Ross,
English explorer, identified the magnetic north pole on the west
coast of the Boothia Peninsula, Netsilik territory.
1833 Feb 17, Lt. George Back
(1796-1878) departed Liverpool, England, on the packet ship Hibernia
with 4 men to search for missing Arctic explorer Captain John Ross.
Ross had left England in 1829 to seek a Northwest Passage by way of
the Arctic Ocean.
1833 Oct, Capt. John Ross
(1877-1856), Arctic explorer, returned to England.
1845 May 19, The HMS Erebus and
Terror sailed from England under Sir John Franklin to navigate
through the Arctic and find the elusive Northwest passage. Sir John
Franklin and his 128-member crew all died on the journey and the
ships vanished. By 1847 the British Admiralty had received no
reports of Franklin. [see Franklin Jun 11, 1847]
1846-1854 John Rae (b.1813), Scottish-born
explorer, helped map the western shore of Hudson’s Bay and the
Arctic over this period. He discovered the last link of the
Northwest Passage. In 2002 Ken McGoogan authored “Fatal Passage," an
account of Rae’s explorations.
(WSJ, 4/19/02, p.W10)
1847 Jun 11, A written record
was found in 1859, indicating that Sir John Franklin died on this
day, and that Erebus and Terror were abandoned in April 1848. The
crews' deaths have been attributed to either scurvy or lead
poisoning originating from the solder on food tins. Both ships and
the remains of most of the 129 crewmen have never been found. After
commissioning three unsuccessful search expeditions, the British
Admiralty posted a reward for anyone who could ascertain the fate of
the crewmen of the HMS Erebus and Terror, who had sailed from
England in May 1845 to navigate through the Arctic and find the
elusive Northwest passage. Success was anticipated with Franklin
commanding well-equipped crews and ships, but by 1847, the British
Admiralty had received no reports of Franklin. Subsequent
expeditions found evidence of the Franklin Expedition. Three graves
dug into the permafrost were discovered in 1850 on Devon Island,
their headstones dated 1846. In 2010 Anthony Brandt authored “The
Man Who Ate His Boots: The Tragic History of the Search for the
Northwest Passage." The book pivoted around explorer John Franklin
(HNQ, 6/11/98)(HN, 6/11/99)(ON, 11/03, p.12)(SFC,
1848 Apr, The British ships
Erebus and Terror of the Franklin Expedition to the Arctic were
abandoned [see Franklin expedition 1850]. Wreckage of one of the
vessels was found in 2014.
(HNQ, 6/11/98)(SFC, 9/9/14, p.A5)
1850 May, An American
expedition, organized by shipping magnate Henry Grinnell, departed
to the Canadian Arctic to search for Sir John Franklin and his 1845
Expedition. In late August it joined with British rescue ships. They
soon found 3 graves dug into the permafrost of Beechey Island with
headstones dated 1846. A written record was found in 1859,
indicating that Franklin died on June 11, 1847, and that Erebus and
Terror were abandoned in April 1848. The crews’ deaths have been
attributed to either scurvy or lead poisoning originating from the
solder on food tins. Both ships and the remains of most of the 129
crewmen have never been found.
(HNQ, 6/11/98)(ON, 6/09, p.3)
1854 The Investigator, deployed
in 1850 with a 66-man crew, was abandoned after being locked in the
grip of Arctic ice for two winters. The crew, led by Captain Robert
John LeMesurier McClure, left behind a cache of equipment and
provisions on the shore of what is now part of Aulavik National
Park. The British ship was sent to search for two lost vessels that
were part of Sir John Franklin's ill-fated 1845 Royal Navy
expedition to discover the Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic to
the Pacific through Canada's Arctic archipelago. Canadian
archeologists discovered the wreckage of the ship in 2010 at the
remote Mercy Bay site in the Northwest Territories.
1866 Aug 8, African-American
Matthew Alexander Henson was born in Maryland. He and four Inuits
accompanied U.S. Naval Commander Robert E. Peary when he planted the
U.S. flag at the North Pole on April 6, 1909. Henson became an
Arctic expert during Peary's first two failed expeditions. By the
third attempt, which began in July 1908, Henson's strength,
knowledge of the Eskimo language and dog driving skills made him an
essential member of the team. Whether Peary's party actually reached
the North Pole or missed it by as much as 60 miles due to a
navigational miscalculation remains controversial to this day.
1879 Jul 8, The steamship USS
Jeannette under Lt. George W. De Long departed San Francisco on an
expedition to reach the North Pole. [see June 12, 1881]
(ON, 2/05, p.1)
1881 Jun 12, The steamship USS
Jeannette sank under ice during an expedition to reach the North
Pole. The crew, having abandoned the ship, prepared 3 lifeboats in
an attempt to reach Siberia. Less than half survived. Chief engineer
George W. Melville (d.1912) made it back to NYC on Sep 13, 1883, and
in 1900 became engineer in chief of the US Navy. In 2014 Hampton
Sides authored “In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar
Voyage of the USS Jeannette."
(http://tinyurl.com/l8pd4zh)(ON, 2/05, p.1,5)
1881 Jul, US Army Lt. Augustus
W. Greely led a scientific expedition to Ellesmere Island in the
Canadian Arctic and called the site Ft. Conger. 25 American soldiers
set forth to establish a scientific base in the Arctic. There were
only 6 survivors. In 2000 Leonard Gurttridge authored "Ghosts of
Cape Sabine," which told their story.
(SFC, 3/9/00, p.D12)
1893 Jun, Fridtjof Nansen left
Norway for the North Pole aboard the Fram. He theorized that the
ship would become ice-bound and cross the Arctic and the North Pole
in 3 years.
(ON, 7/05, p.1)
1895 Mar 15, Fridtjof Nansen
and Hjalmar Johansen left their ship Fram in an attempt to reach the
North Pole by dogsled. [see Jun 17, 1896]
(ON, 7/05, p.5)
1896 Jun 17, Fridtjof Nansen
and Hjalmar Johansen met up with English explorer Frederick Jackson
at Franz Joseph Land in the Arctic.
(ON, 7/05, p.5)
1896 Aug 20, Fridtjof Nansen
and Hjalmar Johansen arrived back in Norway following a 3 year
Arctic venture. In 1898 Nansen published “Farthest North," a
best-selling account of his adventure. In 1922 Nansen was awarded
the Nobel Prize for Peace.
(ON, 7/05, p.5)
1897 Jul 14, Swede Saloman
Andrée (b.1854)) and 2 accomplices, Knute Fraenkle and Nils
Strindberg, in the Ornen balloon were forced down after 64 hours in
the first expedition to fly by balloon from Spitsbergen across the
North Pole. Their attempt to return ended on White Island. Their
fate was only discovered Aug 5-6, 1930, by Norwegian whalers.
(HNQ, 5/22/01)(ON, 11/01, p.11)(Econ, 5/11/13,
1905 Aug 19, Roald Amundsen and
his crew of 6 aboard Gjøe, a converted herring boat, made contact
with the US Coast Guard cutter Bear, which confirmed their crossing
the Northwest Passage following a 26-month journey. Amundsen
continued by dogsled to the Yukon while his crew completed their
journey at Point Bonita, California, just outside the Golden
(SFC, 4/17/00, p.D8)(WSJ, 4/18/00, p.A16)(Ind,
1908 Apr 21, Arctic explorer
Frederick A. Cook claimed to have discovered the North Pole a year
ahead of Peary. Many historians suspect that neither explorer
succeeded. The term “Dr. Cook weather" refers to an incident where
Dr. Cook once left a chilly New York baseball game after which the
city papers trumpeted; “Game called, even too cold for Dr. Cook."
Cook's assertion was later proved false. In 2005 Bruce Henderson
authored “True North: Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole." [see
Apr 6, 1909]
(SFC, 8/18/96, p.B8)(SFC, 10/2/99, p.A20)(SSFC,
1908 Jul 6, Robert Peary's
expedition sailed from NYC for north pole.
1909 Apr 6, Explorers Robert E.
Peary, Matthew A. Henson and four Inuits became the first men to
reach the North Pole along with 4 Eskimos. Peary used Ellesmere
Island as a base for his expedition to the North Pole. The north
coast of Ellesmere lies just 480 miles from the Pole. He was
accompanied by Matthew Henson, an African-American, who had spent 18
years in the Arctic with Peary. The claim was disputed by skeptics
and in 1988 the original navigational records were uncovered from
the dog-sled voyage indicating that Peary probably never got closer
than 121 miles from the North Pole. In 1989 the Navigation
Foundation upheld that Peary reached the North Pole.
(NG, 6/1988, 754, 757)(SFC, 8/18/96, p.B8)(SFC,
10/2/99, p.A20)(AP, 4/6/08)(SFC, 9/11/08, p.B4)
1909 Arctic explorer Frederick
A. Cook claimed to have discovered the North Pole a year ahead of
Peary. Many historians suspect that neither explorer succeeded. The
term “Dr. Cook weather" refers to an incident where Dr. Cook once
left a chilly New York baseball game after which the city papers
trumpeted; “Game called—even too cold for Dr. Cook." Cook's
assertion was later proved false.
(SFC, 8/18/96, p.B8)(SFC, 10/2/99, p.A20)
1920 Feb 9, The Svalbard Treaty
gave Norway sovereignty over the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, but
allowed other countries to establish settlements there and to
exploit its natural resources. The treaty allowed Russia to pursue
mining at Spitsbergen. By 2017 there were more than 40 countries
party to the treaty.
(WSJ, 9/19/97, p.A1)(Econ, 10/11/08, p.70)(Econ,
1920 The first Arctic onshore
oil wells were sunk in Canada’s Mackenzie River valley.
(Econ, 6/16/12, SR p.13)
1921 Vilhjalmur Stefansson
organized an expedition to the Arctic Wrangel Island and became
trapped there with 3 companions and an Eskimo seamstress named Ada
Blackjack. In 2003 Jennifer Niver authored "Ada Blackjack: A True
Story of Survival in the Arctic."
(SSFC, 12/7/03, p.M4)
1925 Aug 24, The Svalbarg
Treaty took effect, at the same time as the Svalbard Act regulated
the archipelago and the first governor, Johannes Gerckens Bassøe,
took office. The Svalbard Act made Svalbard a full part of the
Kingdom of Norway.
1925 An unusual first of sorts
took place as two nations tried to reach the North Pole by air.
Norway’s all-out effort was made by a team composed of the first
explorer to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen, and a rich young
American adventurer, Lincoln Ellsworth. The attempt by the United
States was on the hidden agenda of a relatively unknown naval
aviator (Richard Byrd) who was eager to try such a flight during an
expedition on which he had teamed up with a well-known Arctic
explorer (Donald B. MacMillan) who wanted no part of an attempt to
reach the pole. The MacMillan Arctic Expedition marked the first
productive use of aircraft in Arctic exploration and also brought
aviator-explorer Richard Byrd into the national limelight.
1926 May 9, Americans Richard
Byrd and Floyd Bennett made the first flight over the North Pole.
[see 1888-1957, Byrd] Two teams of aviators competed to be the first
to fly over the North Pole. American Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard E. Byrd
and pilot Floyd Bennett claimed victory when they circled the North
Pole. But even today experts suspect that faulty navigation caused
Byrd to miss the North Pole. Later archivists determined that Byrd
was probably 150 miles short of the pole. His tri-motor Fokker
monoplane named Josephine Ford probably came within 2.25 degrees of
(HFA, ‘96, p.30)(TMC, 1994, p.1926)(SFC, 5/9/96,
p.A-13)(HN, 5/9/98)(HNPD, 5/13/99)
1926 May 11, Norwegian explorer
Roald Amundsen launched the dirigible Norge on a planned flight, not
merely over the pole, but all the way across the Arctic to Alaska.
Byrd and Bennett in their Josephine Ford plane briefly accompanied
Norge in a gesture of goodwill.
1926 May 12, Italian Col.
Umberto Nobile of the Italian army piloted his Norge dirigible over
the North Pole with Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.
(ON, 10/00, p.5)
1926 May 14, Amundsen reached
1928 May 23, Italian Gen.
Nobile reached the North Pole for a 2nd time with a 16-man crew
aboard the dirigible Italia.
(ON, 10/00, p.5)
1928 May 24, The dirigible
Italia crashed while attempting to reach Spitzbergen. Nine men
survived the initial crash. In 2000 Wilbur Cross authored "Disaster
at the Pole," a revised edition of the 1960 version of the disaster
led by Italian aviator Umberto Nobile. The Russian film "Krasnaya
palatka" (1969), starring Sean Connery, detailed the Nobile
expedition and attempted rescue. This movie was released in North
America under the title "The Red Tent."
(ON, 10/00, p.6)(SSFC, 1/7/01, Par
1928 Jun 3, An amateur radio
operator in Archangel, Russian, picked up a distress signal from the
crew of the Italia and reported the crew’s location. A 2nd report
from an American amateur changed the location and proved to be a
(ON, 10/00, p.6)
1928 Jun 17, The 1st airplanes
appeared in the vicinity of the Italia crew.
(ON, 10/00, p.8)
1928 Jun 18, Norwegian explorer
Roald Amundsen (b.1872) flew to the North Pole with a crew of
rescuers to search for the survivors of the dirigible Italia. They
were never seen again.
(ON, 10/00, p.8)(Ind, 4/27/02,
1928 Jun 20, A plane passed
overhead and dropped provisions to the Italia crew.
(ON, 10/00, p.8)
1928 Jun 23, A small Swedish
military plane under Lt. Einar-Paul Lundborg landed with skis and
took Gen. Nobile back to Spitzbergen. Lundborg then flew back for
another pickup but crashed on landing and was trapped with the
(ON, 10/00, p.8)
1928 Jul 6, Lundborg’s
navigator returned to the Arctic with a smaller plane and picked up
(ON, 10/00, p.8)
1928 Jul 11, The Russian
icebreaker Krassin picked up 2 Italia crew members, who had tried to
trek to land.
(ON, 10/00, p.8)
1928 Jul 12, The Russian
icebreaker Krassin rescued the rest of the dirigible Italia crew
members. In 1969 Gary Hogg authored "Airship Over the Pole: The
Story of the Italia." In 2000 Wilbur Cross authored “Disaster at the
(ON, 10/00, p.8)
1930 Aug 5, The Norwegian
steamer Bratvaag anchored near the inhospitable shores of White
Island on the far northeastern tip of Spitsbergen. Harpooners Olaf
Salen and Carl Tusvik had gone ashore to skin walrus, when they
suddenly kicked a rusted tin can. After examining the relic, they
hastily searched their immediate area. Protruding from a snow bank
was the darkened prow of a small boat with a boathook sticking out.
Precisely painted letters on the wood were still legible: "Andrée's
Polar Expedition of 1897."
1931 Aug 28, Hubert Wilkins,
Australian explorer, reached within 550 miles of the North Pole in
the submarine Nautilus.
(ON, 1/02, p.8)
1937 Jun 6, Ivan Papanin
(1894-1986) raised the Soviet flag over the North Pole-1 station.
For 234 days the 4-man Papanin team carried out a wide range of
scientific observations in the near-polar zone.
1942 Jun 27, The Allied Convoy
PQ-17 left Iceland for Murmansk and Archangel. As their escorts
turned away, the ships of the doomed Allied convoy PQ-17 followed
orders and began to disperse in the Arctic waters.
1944 Jan 28, Matthew Henson
received a joint medal from Congress as co-discoverer of the North
1951 May 29, C.F. Blair became
the 1st man to fly over the North Pole flight in single engine
1952 May 3, The first airplane
landed at geographic North Pole. It was a ski-modified U.S. Air
Force C-47, piloted by Lieutenant Colonel William P. Benedict
(d.1974) of California and Lieutenant Colonel Joseph O. Fletcher of
Oklahoma. In 2002 Charles B. Compton authored "Born to Fly: Some
Life Sketches of Lieutenant Colonel William P. Benedict."
(Polar Times, Fall, 97)(CBC)
1958 Aug 1, The US atomic sub
USS Nautilus 1st dove under the North Pole.
1958 Aug 3, The nuclear-powered
submarine USS Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North
Pole underwater. The Nautilus was decommissioned in 1980 and
designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982.
(PCh, 1992, p.965)(AP,
1958 Sep 22, The nuclear
submarine USS Skate remained a record 31 days under the North Pole.
1958 Oct 6, The US nuclear sub
USS Seawolf remained a record 60 days under pole.
1959 Mar 17, The USS Skate
became the 1st submarine to surface at the North Pole. The ships
crew held a funeral service and scattered the ashes of explorer
Hubert Wilkins (d.1958), who had attempted the feat in 1931.
(ON, 1/02, p.9)
1968 Apr 19, Ralph S. Plaisted
(1927- 2008), insurance salesman turned explorer, reached the North
Pole by snowmobile with 3 other men. This was the first expedition
to indisputably reach the North Pole.
(SFC, 9/11/08, p.B4)
1969 Apr 6, Sir Wally Herbert
(1934-2007), English explorer, reached the North Pole on foot along
with 3 others on his team. They became the first men to cross the
entire frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean on foot covering the 3,720
miles in 16 months. Roy Koerner, a glaciologist accompanying
Herbert, drilled more than 250 ice core samples during the journey.
1969 May 29, Britain's
Trans-Arctic expedition made the 1st crossing of Arctic Sea ice. Roy
Koerner (1932-2008), more commonly known as Fritz, was one of the
four members of Sir Wally Herbert’s British Transarctic Expedition
which, on April 6, 1969, stood at the North Pole.
1977 Jun, The Inuit Circumpolar
Council, a multinational non-governmental organization (NGO), met
for the first time. Originally known as the Inuit Circumpolar
Conference, the ICC represented the 150,000 Inuit (often referred to
as Eskimo) people living in the United States, Canada, Greenland,
1980 Feb 29, Pres. Carter
signed a law that renamed the Arctic National Wildlife Range to the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and more than doubled its size. The
law directed the Interior Dept. to assess oil potential in 1.5
million acres of the coastal plain. A ban was put on drilling in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 2002 Pres. Bush pushed to
overturn the ban. Estimates on oil there ranged from 3.2 to at least
5.7 billion barrels.
(SSFC, 2/24/02, p.A9)(SSFC, 8/28/05,
1986 May 1, Will Steger
(b.1943) and his dog sled expedition reached the North Pole without
1988 Apr 6, Black Arctic
explorer Matthew Henson (1866-1955) was re-buried next to Robert
Peary in Arlington, Va.
1988 In the Arctic original
navigational records were uncovered from Admiral Peary’s 1909
dog-sled voyage indicating that he probably never got closer than
121 miles from the North Pole.
(SFC, 9/11/08, p.B4)
1996 The Arctic Council was
founded to promote joint scientific research and to study pollution,
conservation and mapping. The Ottawa Declaration named eight members
of the Arctic Council: Canada, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, the
United States, Sweden and Finland. The first step towards the
formation of the Council occurred in 1991 when eight Arctic
countries signed the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy
1998 Mar 21, It was reported
that Chinese researchers had discovered heavy industrial pollution
in the snow around the North Pole.
(SFC, 3/21/98, p.A9)
1998 Apr 21, Skydivers from
Malaysia parachuted the national car, the Proton Wira sedan, onto
the North Pole this week.
(SFC, 4/23/98, p.A13)
1999 Nov 20, It was reported
that the Arctic average ice thickness had declined by 4.25 feet
since the 1960s, a 40% reduction.
(SFC, 11/20/99, p.A21)
2000 Jul, Visitors to the North
Pole reported that the ice had melted for the 1st time in recorded
history and formed a free patch of ocean about a mile in diameter.
(SFC, 8/26/00, p.A20)
2003 Mar 17, Pen Hadow, 41,
began a 478-mile trek from Ward Hunt Island in northern Canada to
the geographic North Pole. He reached the Pole unsupported on May
19, but a plane has been unable to retrieve him because of broken
ice and thick clouds.
2003 Jul 6, Dennis Schmitt and
5 companions stepped on a 120-foot-long pile of dirt at 83°42’
latitude, Earth’s farthest north piece of known land. The Arctic
site was 432 miles from the North Pole and under the jurisdiction of
Greenland. In 2004 Danish authorities discounted the find in favor
of a larger island called Kaffklubben.
(SFC, 6/17/04, p.B1)(SFC, 6/18/04, p.B10)
2004 Oct 4, The Denmark Science
Ministry said it aims to show the North Pole belongs to Denmark and
is sending an expedition to try to prove that the seabed there is a
natural continuation of Danish territory.
2004 Nov 8, A comprehensive
scientific study of the Arctic climate was released and confirmed
that the North is melting, and faster all the time.
2004 A $12.5 million Arctic
Coring Expedition, run by a consortium called the Int’l. Ocean
Drilling Program, drilled into layers of sediment millions of years
(SFC, 6/1/06, p.A5)
2005 May 24, Indigenous leaders
from Arctic regions around the world called on the European Union to
do more to fight global warming and to consider giving aid to their
2005 Sep 28, Climate experts
said the Arctic ice cap shrank this summer to its smallest size in
at least a century.
(SFC, 9/29/05, p.A1)
2005 Marla Cone authored
“Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic."
(SSFC, 5/22/05, p.F2)
2006 Mar 23, Mike Horn (39) of
South Africa and Borge Ousland (43) of Norway completed a 620-mile
trek without outside supplies or help from dog sleds to the North
Pole after 64 days of walking, skiing, climbing, swimming across ice
2006 Jun 15, The environmental
group WWF said toxic chemicals are harming Arctic animals including
polar bears, beluga whales, seals and seabirds.
2006 Aug 17, In the Arctic ice
Lt. Jessica Hill (31) and Boatswain's Mate Steven Duque (22), divers
on the US Coast Guard cutter Healy, died during a practice dive.
2006 Sep 13, NASA scientists
said the ice in the Arctic Sea is melting in winter as well as in
summer, likely due to global warming. The ice was reportedly melting
at 9% a decade.
(SFC, 9/14/06, p.A1)(Econ, 9/9/06, Survey p.6)
2007 Mar 20, An explosion
aboard the HMS Tireless, a nuclear-powered Royal Navy submarine
under an Arctic ice cap, killed two British sailors and injured a
2007 May 1, A US ice expert
said the Arctic ice cap is melting much faster than expected and is
now about 30 years ahead of predictions made by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
2007 Jun 1, The Norwegian
environmental group Bellona warned that a nuclear waste dump in the
Russia Arctic may be in danger of exploding because of corrosion
caused by salt water in enormous storage tanks.
2007 Jun 4, The UN warned in a
report that up to 12% of Arctic ice has turned to water in the past
30 years, an alarming fact that only accelerates global warming
2007 Jul 9, Canada announced
plans to increase its Arctic military presence in an effort to
assert sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, a potentially
oil-rich region the United States claims is international territory.
2007 Jul 27, Russia said it
planned to send a small submarine to the ocean floor under the North
Pole to stake a claim to the region.
(WSJ, 1/28/07, p.A1)
2007 Aug 1, Russian explorers
readied for a historic descent to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean
under the North Pole as part of an expedition to claim the area for
2007 Aug 2, Two deep-diving
Russian mini-submarines descended more than 2 1/2 miles under North
Pole ice to stake a flag on the ocean floor, part of a quest to
bolster Russian claims to much of the Arctic's oil-and-mineral
2007 Aug 2, Canada dismissed
Russia's claim to a large chunk of the resource-rich Arctic, saying
the tactic was more suited to the 15th century than the real world.
2007 Aug 10, The United States
launched an expedition toward the Arctic to map the sea floor off
2007 Aug 10, Canada's prime
minister announced plans for an army training center and a deepwater
port on the third day of an Arctic trip meant to assert sovereignty
over a region.
2007 Aug 10, Denmark was
reported to be planning a monthlong expedition, to begin Aug 12, to
seek evidence that the Lomonosov Ridge, a 1,240-mile underwater
mountain range, is attached to the Danish territory of Greenland,
making it a geological extension of the Arctic island.
2007 Sep 20, NASA released
satellite data that showed sea ice in the Arctic had shrunk one
million square miles more this summer that the average melt over 24
years. This represented an area larger that Alaska and Texas
combined. Arctic sea ice shrunk to a record 1.59 million square
miles since NASA started recording satellite data in 1979.
(SFC, 9/21/07, p.A1)(SFC, 9/17/08, p.A2)
2008 Mar 18, NASA reported that
the thickest Arctic ice is melting according to satellite data.
(WSJ, 3/19/08, p.A1)
2008 May 28, The Ilulissat
Declaration, was announced by 5 countries adjoining the Arctic
Ocean, expressed their commitment to develop the Arctic peacefully
and without outside interference.
(Econ, 6/16/12, SR
2008 Jun 9, Russia and Norway
met for 2-days talks in the hope of making progress in a decades-old
dispute over their maritime border in the Barents Sea, a part of the
Arctic that could hold large oil and gas reserves. After visiting
the Norwegian town of Kirkenes, the ministers will go to Murmansk in
2008 Dec 16, NASA said
satellite data indicated that more than 2 trillion tons of land ice
in Alaska, Antarctica and Greenland since 2003 among the latest
signs of global warming. A scientist from America’s National Snow
and Ice Data Center said the shrinking of Arctic ice (and exposure
of extra sea to radiation) was warming the world at an accelerating
(SFC, 12/17/08, p.A20)(Econ, 12/20/08, p.109)
2009 Mar 27, Russian media
reported that the presidential Security Council has released a
document outlining government policy for the Arctic that includes
creating a special group of military forces.
2010 Apr 10, French explorer
Jean-Louis Etienne (63) made the first Arctic crossing by balloon,
landing in the tundra of eastern Siberia five days after taking off
2010 Michael Byers authored
“Who Owns the Arctic: Understanding Sovereignty Disputes in the
(Econ, 3/5/11, p.68)
2010 Scientists discovered an
extensive bloom of phytoplankton at the edge of Arctic ice in the
Chukchi Sea. The bloom continued below 2½ to 4 feet of ice for some
(SFC, 6/8/12, p.A13)
2011 Jan 14, BP and Russian
state-run firm Rosneft unveiled an agreement to swap shares and
launch a joint venture to exploit the Arctic's vast untouched energy
resources. BP’s share in Rosneft would increase to 10.8% and Rosneft
would get 5% of BP. Critics held that BP was buying stolen goods.
(AFP, 1/15/11)(Econ, 1/22/11, p.74)
2011 Mar 11, Norway rejected
oil drilling in ecologically sensitive waters just above the Arctic
circle, partly because of worries over a disaster like the Gulf of
Mexico oil spill.
2011 Apr 5, The UN weather
agency said a protective ozone layer in the Arctic that keeps out
the sun's most damaging rays, ultraviolet radiation, has thinned
about 40 percent this winter, a record drop.
2011 May 3, The Arctic Monitory
and Assessment Program (AMAP) reported that the ice of Greenland and
the Arctic is melting faster than expected and could raise global
sea levels by as much as five feet this century.
(SFC, 5/4/11, p.A3)
2011 May 12, Arctic Council
members signed an agreement in Greenland to coordinate search and
rescue operations and pledged to create int’l. protocols to prevent
and clean up offshore oil spills. The 8 members included the Canada,
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the USA.
(SFC, 5/13/11, p.A2)
2011 Jun 4, Greenpeace said 18
of its members have climbed a 53,000-ton oil rig in the Arctic
waters off Greenland to protest deepwater drilling by a Scottish oil
company there. The activists demanded Cairn Energy release a plan
for how to manage a potential oil spill. Police arrested 14
activists, while 4 remained on Leiv Eiriksson oil rig.
(AP, 6/4/11)(SFC, 6/5/11, p.A4)
2011 Laurence Smith authored
“The New North: The World in 2050."
(Econ, 2/5/11, p.96)
2012 Jan 28, Bird enthusiasts
were reporting rising numbers of snowy owls from the Arctic winging
into the lower 48 states this winter in a mass southern migration.
2012 Feb 24, In New Zealand
actress Lucy Lawless and six other protesters boarded the ship Noble
Discoverer in a bid to prevent it sailing to the Arctic, where it
has been contracted by Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell to conduct
exploratory drilling. On Feb 27 police arrested Lawless along with
five other Greenpeace activists.
(AFP, 2/24/12)(AFP, 2/27/12)
2012 Apr 18, ExxonMobil
finalized the terms of a deal with Russia’s Rosneft to invest up to
$500 billion in developing offshore reserves, including in Russia’s
Arctic Kara Sea.
(Econ, 6/16/12, SR p.5)
2012 Apr 20, China signed
accords on energy cooperation and the Arctic in Iceland as Premier
Wen Jiabao started a tour of northern Europe that will focus on
Chinese investment in a continent eager for funds and to trade with
the rising world power.
2012 Aug 24, Greenpeace
activists were first offered hot soup, then sprayed with blasts of
cold water after they stormed a floating Russia oil platform and
erected climbing tents on the side of the rig to protest drilling in
2012 Aug 27, Greenpeace said in
a statement that 14 activists have chained themselves to the anchor
chain of the vessel which was carrying Gazprom's workers to the
Prirazlomnaya platform in the Pechora Sea.
2012 Sep 5, Moscow police
arrested 10 environmental activists, including four dressed in polar
bear costumes, who were protesting outside the main office of
Gazprom. The protest by members of Greenpeace called upon Gazprom to
halt its offshore drilling in the Arctic.
2012 Sep 21, Royal Dutch Shell
PLC said it is suing Greenpeace International in Dutch court in an
attempt to end protests against its plans to drill for offshore oil
in the Artic Sea.
2012 Dec 21, The US National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that ringed seals
and bearded seals will be listed as threatened under the Endangered
Species Act. Loss of sea ice due to climate warning was blamed.
(SFC, 12/22/12, p.A6)
2013 Jan 21, Arctic Council
members set up the first permanent secretariat at Tromso, Norway.
(Econ, 2/2/13, p.49)
2013 Apr 15, Iceland President
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson announced the formation of the Arctic Circle
at a Press Club meeting in Washington, DC, The new nonprofit will be
dedicated to bringing together the many international stakeholders
in an open venue to address the challenges facing the
2013 May 15, The Arctic
Council, meeting in Sweden, agreed to expand membership and provide
observer status to 6 new nations including China, India, Italy,
Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
2013 May 30, Russian scientists
said a perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood
has been found on a remote Arctic island, fueling hopes of cloning
the Ice Age animal.
2013 Aug 26, Greenpeace said
that Russian authorities have boarded their ship which is in the
Arctic to protest against oil drilling. The Greenpeace ship entered
the waters of the Kara Sea on Aug 24.
2013 Sep 18, Russian coast
guards fired warning shots and arrested two Greenpeace activists who
scaled the Prirazlomnaya Arctic oil platform in a protest over the
potential threat to the environment from operations slated to start
2013 Sep 19, The Russian Coast
Guard began towing a Greenpeace ship to Murmansk after armed
officers stormed it following a protest against oil drilling in
2013 Oct 2, Russian
investigators charged 14 Greenpeace campaigners with piracy over an
open-sea protest against Arctic oil drilling.
(AFP, 10/2/13)(AP, 10/3/13)
2013 Dec 9, Canada signalled
intentions to claim the North Pole and surrounding Arctic waters
while announcing the filing of a UN application seeking to vastly
expand its Atlantic sea boundary.
2013 Dec 10, Russia’s President
Vladimir Putin ordered the military to step up its presence in the
Arctic after Canada signalled its intention to claim the North Pole
and surrounding waters.
2014 May 1, Dutch police
stormed a Greenpeace ship and ended environmentalists' attempts to
block a Russian tanker carrying oil from the Arctic Ocean from
mooring at Rotterdam Port. 31 activists were detained.
2014 May 29, Norwegian police
removed Greenpeace activists from a platform operated by Statoil,
which they boarded two days ago in a protest against drilling in
2014 Sep 6, Russia sent six
ships carrying personnel and equipment to a Soviet-era military base
in the Arctic that it is reopening to bolster its presence in the
2014 Dec 15, Denmark claimed
ownership of around 900,000 square km of the continental shelf in
the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland by filing documents to United
2015 May 11, The Obama
administration approved plans for Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic
Chukchi Sea. Shell still needed to secure seven other permits.
(SFC, 5/12/15, p.A9)
2015 Jul 16, The United States,
Russia and other Arctic nations signed an agreement to bar their
fishing fleets from fast-thawing seas around the North Pole. The
accord was also signed in Oslo by the ambassadors of Canada, Norway
2015 Aug 4, Russia pressed a
claim at the UN for an additional 1.2 million square km (463,000
square miles) of Arctic shelf, an area of escalating international
2015 Oct 16, The US Interior
Department announced it is canceling future oil lease sales and will
not extend current leases in Arctic waters off Alaska's northern
2015 Oct 30, Coast Guard
leaders from the US, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and
Sweden signed an agreement setting up the Arctic Coast Guard Forum
dedicated to stewardship of Arctic waters.
(SFC, 10/31/15, p.A4)
2016 Nov 7, A group of
investors representing more than 5 trillion euros ($5.53 trillion)
in assets under management have called on oil and gas companies to
observe an unlimited moratorium on activity in the Arctic high seas.
2016 Nov 18, The Obama
administration announced a 5-year Arctic offshore drilling plan that
blocks the planned sale of new oil and gas drilling rights in the
Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska.
(SFC, 11/19/16, p.A7)
2017 Feb 17, The UN World
Meteorological Organization said the extent of sea ice in the Arctic
and Antarctic last month was the lowest on record for January, while
concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a January
2017 Mar 16, The European
Parliament rejected a call to ban Arctic oil and gas exploration, in
a symbolic vote seen as a barometer for future moves by Brussels to
regulate to protect the region.
2017 May 16, It was reported
that researchers have found an estimated 100-1200 tons of plastic
floating in the Arctic Ocean.
(SFC, 5/16/17, p.A12)
2017 Jul 10, In Finland
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe pledged to increase cooperation with Finland
in Arctic issues and on furthering Russian relations, after talks
with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.
2017 Jul 29, The Finnish
icebreaker MSV Nordica set a new record for the earliest transit of
the fabled Northwest Passage after 24 days at sea and a journey
spanning more than 10,000 km (6,214 miles).
2017 Dec 12, The annual Arctic
Report Card released today warned that an increasingly warm Arctic,
where temperatures rise twice as fast as the rest of the planet and
ice melts at an alarming pace is the "new normal".
2018 Jan 4, A court in Norway
said that the government can hand out oil drilling licenses in the
Arctic, dealing a blow to two environmental groups that had filed a
lawsuit against further drilling in the Barents Sea. The court also
said Nature and Youth and Greenpeace Nordic should pay legal
expenses worth 580,000 kroner ($71,435).
2018 Feb 5, In Norway
environmental groups launched an appeal after an Oslo court rejected
their arguments that Norway's oil and gas exploration in the Arctic
violates citizens' right to a clean environment.
2018 Apr 10, The Newport Arctic
Scholars Initiative convened in Newport, Rhode Island, with
representatives from the Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway
and the US.
2019 Jan 22, A Russian a
long-range Tu-22M3 bomber crash-landed in the Arctic, leaving three
of its crew of four dead.
2019 May 7, The Arctic Council,
under pressure from the US, issued a joint statement that excluded
any mention of climate change.
(SFC, 5/8/19, p.A2)
2019 Apr 9, Russia's President
Vladimir Putin put forward an ambitious program to secure the
country's foothold in the Arctic, including efforts to build new
ports and other infrastructure facilities and expand an icebreaker
2019 Jul 13, It was reported
that over the course of 10 days this month, Alaskan wildfires burned
an area of land the size of Rhode Island. This is way above normal —
though this doesn't match Alaska's extreme burning of 2015. The UN
The World Meteorological Organization noted that over 100 intense
fires burned in the Arctic Circle alone over the past six weeks,
releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than Sweden does
in an entire year.
2019 Jul 26, It was reported
that the Arctic is suffering its worst wildfire season on record,
with huge blazes in Greenland, Siberia and Alaska producing plumes
of smoke that can be seen from space.
(The Guardian, 7/26/19)
2019 Sep, The Multidisciplinary
Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAIC)
departed northern Norway with researchers from 19 countries. The
German research icebreaker Polarstern set sail from Tromso, Norway,
to spend a year drifting through the Arctic Ocean. It was
accompanied by a Russian icebreaker.
2019 Fires this year in the
Arctic meitted some 182 million tons of carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere. Fires in June, July and August accounted for 173 million
(Econ., 7/6/20, p.68)
2020 Oct 12, The RV Polarstern
icebreaker, carrying scientists on a year-long international effort
to study the high Arctic, returned to its home port in Germany
carrying a wealth of data that will help researchers better predict
climate change in the decades to come.
2020 Dec 8, Scientists in an
annual assessment of the region said the Arctic continued its
unwavering shift toward a new climate in 2020, as the effects of
near-record warming surged across the region, shrinking ice and snow
cover and fueling extreme wildfires.
(NY Times, 12/8/20)
2040 The Arctic Ocean was
expected to be largely free of ice by this time based on current
trends in 2017.
(Econ, 4/29/17, p.11)