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Arctic research may be threatened by global cooling, says Russian scientist

ST. PETERSBURG, April 23, 2010 (RIA Novosti)

Research for mineral resources in the Arctic may be hampered by a global trend towards colder weather rather than global warming, a Russian scientist said on Friday.

Prof. Oleg Pokrovsky of the Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory (MGO) said the cold snap began in 1998 and the temperatures are predicted to return to the lows of the 1950s-1960s and reach their peak in 15 years.

Despite the predictions of global warming, which has been the greatest economic and political challenge, most parts of the world have recently seen widespread low temperatures and extremely heavy snowfalls.

"Now all the components of the climate system are entering the negative phase. Politicians who placed their bets on global warming may lose the pot," Pokrovsky said at a conference on marine research in the Polar regions.

The scientist explains the possible climate miscalculation by the fact that most meteorological stations in the United States are located in urban areas which are affected by the city's microclimate where the temperature is usually higher.

"We do not know everything that happens. The climate system is extremely complicated and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is not the highest authority," Pokrovsky said.

The scientist has warned, however, that global cooling could jeopardize the race of world powers for the largely unexplored mineral resources in the Arctic, which has recently intensified.

"The northern marine passage will freeze and it will be impossible to pass through it without icebreakers," Pokrovsky said. "I think the development of the shelf will face large problems," he added.



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