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Polar Science News from July 2005

Renewed Canadian-Danish dispute over Hans Island
The Danish government has offered to reopen formal negotiations with Canada in an effort to find a solution to the dispute over the tiny Arctic island off Northwest Greenland, Hans Island. As global warming opens up the Arctic to shipping and mining, the ownership rights to Hans Island has become politically relevant. A quick helicopter visit to the barren island by Defence Minister Bill Graham without prior notification to the Danes kickstarted the dispute earlier this week. (July 29, 2005)

Hidden ecosystem discovered under collapsed ice shelf
Beneath the collapsed Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica, an expansive ecosystem of knee-high mud volcanoes, snowy microbial mats and flourishing clam communities was discovered in February. Scientists hope the ecosystem, which was found in a deep glacial trough in the northwestern Weddell Sea, will reveal new species. And possibly open the door to future Antarctic expeditions, including more exploration of Lake Vostok. (July 29, 2005)
Daily Democrat

Ice mission ready for launch
In preparing for an autumn launch, engineers are carrying out final checks on the ice monitoring craft CryoSat. The main objective of the craft is to test the prediction that ice cover is diminishing due to global warming. But it will also monitor how the world's ice sheets are changing in general. The European Space Agency (Esa) satellite has gone through months of testing in Germany and will be transported to Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome next month. (July 28, 2005)

Seabirds emit natural insect repellent
Scientists researching bird populations in the Arctic have found that crested auklets naturally emits an odour to repel biting insects. Crested auklets are small birds that nest in colonies of more than 100,000 on islands near Alaska and Siberia. According to biologist Hector Douglas of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the birds emit a citrus-like substance that effectively repels mosquitoes and other pests. (July 28, 2005)
CBC North

Base on skies wins polar competition
The British Antarctic Survey's architect competition for the new Antarctic research station Halley VI has been won by a british engineering and architecture consortium. The concept developed by Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton will be built on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf. It is designed to host scientists all year round in temperatures ranging from -5C to -40C and will be raised on skis so it can be moved. The construction work is expected to begin in 18 months' time. (July 19, 2005)