Voices from Russia

Sunday, 20 March 2016

20 March 2016. From the Russian Web… The Best Swim Team in the World

00 polar bears in arctic 200316



Sunday, 26 May 2013

26 May 2013. RIA-Novosti Infographics. Global Warming: Observations and Forecasts

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. Global Warming. Observations and Forecasts. 2013


The problem of global warming is one of the key environmental problems facing mankind. Scientists link many changes in animal behaviour and lifestyle and plant development to global warming. To learn more about the possible consequences of global warming, see our RIA-Novosti Infographic.

On 20 May, the international RIA-Novosti multimedia press centre launched a new educational/informational project in conjunction with the Polytechnic Museum, “Science Monday”, which opened with a showing of the documentary Chasing Ice, by the American filmmaker Jeff Orlowski, working with a script by Mark Monroe. This picture, a nominee for an “Oscar” in the category “Best Documentary Film“, is dedicated to one of the main dangers of global warming… the melting of the polar ice caps. In addition to viewing this relevant and interesting film, the event will include discussions, lectures, and workshops with the participation of the filmmakers and the film’s direct heroes… scientists and researchers involved in polar research.

20 May 2013




26 May 2013. RIA-Novosti Infographics. High-Power Marine Laser System (SMLK)

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. High-Power Marine Laser System (SMLK). 2013


The concept of the High-Power Marine Laser System (SMLK) received its first presentation at the 41st International Exhibition of Inventions in April 2013. Use of the laser will double the icebreaking ability of ships and reduce loads on marine engineering structures, as well as safely eliminate oil spills, without harm to the environment. The SMLK designers had to address such problems as allowing icebreakers and icebreaking vessels to navigate through heavier ice cover, increasing the width of passage through the ice, eliminating oil spills in the extraction and processing of oil reserves, and reducing ice loads on engineering structures working on the continental shelf, amongst other things. The laser system has a fibre laser, a fibre-optic cable installation, guidance and focusing hardware to aim and focus laser beam, and a power supply. A scale-model SMLK confirmed the fundamental ability of a powerful laser to destroy ice cover to a thickness of 1-2 metres (3.3-6.6 feet) when using a fibre laser with a continuously radiated power of 30 kW. In addition, one could fit more-powerful lasers in the SMLK installed on nuclear and diesel icebreakers and icebreaking ship classes, if their power plants are sufficient to supply a more powerful laser system.

20 May 2013




Friday, 31 August 2012

Arctic Sea Ice Renewal

Arctic ice levels, August 2012


The National Snow and Ice Data Centre in the USA confirmed that data presented by its Japanese colleagues show that Arctic sea ice shrank to its lowest point since satellite records began in 1979, down to 4.1 million square kilometres (1.58 million  square miles) in August. This is 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) less than the previous record low set on 18 September 2007. Foreign experts forecast that by 2040, the Earth’s ice cap might disappear, but Russian scientists disagree with these pessimistic forecasts. Experts from various countries are closely monitoring the state of the Arctic sea ice because this region is the “weather kitchen” of the planet. Since 1979, they’ve used satellite images, but applied different methods to assess the area covered by ice. Scientists from the Arctic and Antarctic Scientific Research Institute (AANII) in St Petersburg are leaning on rich experience gained by field studies, which foreign experts don’t have.

Dr Genrikh Alekseyev said, “The findings show that the Arctic sea ice is ‘renewing’ itself; this is a seasonal change, it’s not the disappearance of the icepack. The reason is that in the summer, the ice melts, whilst in the winter, ice is formed. Practically, the area covered by winter ice shrinks very slowly. In the winter, the ice layer is restored. However, this concerns especially newly-formed ice in the process of formation, and, by next year, its thickness can reach up to 1-metre (@40 inches) or more”.

In winter, the newly-formed ice actively can form a 1.2-metre (@47 inches)-thick layer, whilst the coastal ice can grow up to 2.0 metres (79 inches). Consequently, the Arctic sea ice layer doesn’t change significantly. Moreover, according to Dr Alekseyev, in the summer, ice melts seas unequally in different places. This year, the seas through which the Northern Sea Route passes were covered with an unusually-thick ice layer. A thin ice layer covered the Barents Sea, but the amount of ice in the Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi Seas exceeded the level of 2007. The conditions in the Arctic in a warm summer can be considered abnormal, but the Northern Sea Route hasn’t been completely freed from ice yet. Dr Alekseyev noted, “This means that we’d still need icebreakers in future. According to forecasts made by using calculations on global models, by the end of the century, ice might disappear almost completely in the summer, but ice will be formed up to the previous borders in the winter”.

The extreme melting of ice in the summer 2012 is most likely the last sign that the warming is ending. In fact, ice is a product of climate, and Dr Alekseyev pointed up that when you compared the graphs of the air temperature and melting ice, one can see that they coincide. The long-term monitoring by experts at the institute confirmed the presence of a 60-year climatic fluctuation cycle, where reorganisation of atmospheric processes and the circulation of oceans related to them take place. At present, according to their calculations, another period of warming is ending, whilst the previous warming peak was registered between 1930 and 1940. We only know the nature of these cycles in a vague way, and scientists are still unaware of many of the natural processes of the oceanic environment.

 31 August 2012

Maria Domnitskaya

Voice of Russia World Service


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