In the race for the Arctic there is Canada, United States, and Russia all staking claim on the increasingly accessible Northwest Passage and the mineral rights for the region. You have Canada building up a polar fleet and Arctic bases at the cost of several billion dollars. You have the Russians planting flags on the polar floor in sham expeditions which has Russian experts divided on the implications. Now it is the U.S. who is pursuing the Arctic.
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, in partnership with the University of New Hampshire’s Joint Hydrographic Center and the National Science Foundation, will embark on a four-week cruise to map a portion of the Arctic sea floor starting Aug. 17.
This is, in fact, the third expedition in a series of cruises aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY designed to map the sea floor on the northern Chukchi Cap. Scientists will explore this poorly known region to better understand its morphology and the potential for including this area within the United States’ extended continental shelf under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
But don’t forget the Danes…
Meantime a Danish expedition is seeking evidence that the Lomonosov Ridge, a 1,240-mile underwater mountain range, is attached to the Danish territory of Greenland, that would open the way for Danish claim under UNCLOS that could stretch all the way the North Pole. Interestingly, the Danish expedition will travel aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which will be assisted by a Russian nuclear icebreaker.
And in what many are calling a bizarre turn of events Peter and I are claiming the Arctic for DSN.