UW News

February 19, 2009

Lecture on arctic policy challenges marks opening of Polar Science Weekend

News and Information

Marking the end of International Polar Year, the chair of the eight-nation council that is assessing the implications of increased shipping in the Arctic Ocean will give a lecture on campus Thursday, Feb. 26. The talk coincides with the kickoff of the fourth annual Polar Science Weekend, Feb. 26 to March 1, sponsored by the UW Applied Physics Laboratory and Pacific Science Center.

Polar Science Weekend involves four days of activities at the science center downtown including a chance to explore a replica of an Arctic Ocean research station with cold-weather hut and gear, build an igloo, learn about polar bears and learn how scientists retrieve a string of scientific instruments 2 1/2 miles long from below the Arctic ice pack. The event involves more than 30 researchers and graduate students from the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, oceanography, Earth and space sciences, aquatic and fishery sciences, as well as off-campus participants from the U.S. Coast Guard, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, and several renowned local photographers and artists.

Click here for a schedule of Polar Science Weekend. Hours and admission prices for Pacific Science Center are found here.

“The idea behind Polar Science Weekend,” says Harry Stern, a polar researcher with the Applied Physics Laboratory and organizer of this year’s event, “Is to bring students, teachers and families face-to-face with scientists to learn firsthand about the polar regions in a fun and informal setting. It’s always a good time.”

The lecture by Lawson Brigham on campus Feb. 26 concerns the challenges of globalization and climate change — it is likely that more of the Arctic will be ice free for more of the year in the future — in that region. The area, for example, holds a large storehouse of untapped natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals that will be more readily accessible if there is less ice cover.

This and other changes in the region will “require historic levels of close cooperation among the Arctic states and broad engagement with many non-Arctic stakeholders and actors within the global maritime industry,” says the Web site about the talk.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be at 7 p.m. in 210 Kane Hall. It is sponsored by the Applied Physics Laboratory, the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, the Canadian Studies Center and the Center for Global Studies in the Jackson School.