Friday, January 16, 2004

Driving Across the Tundra -  

Artic oil exploration and extraction is conducted (mostly) over seasonal roads of ice. In theory this allows construction of the infrastructure necessary to get oil out of the ground and too market without the ecological consequences of really long roads.

In what is one of the larger ironies of the new year (yes I know it's a young year but I expect this one to stick around) global warming (which is particularly acute at high latitudes), presumably caused by increased oil consumption, seems to lead to a smaller season in which the ice roads are solid and, thus, oil can be extracted. If you're pro oil exploration, but just interested in minimizing its impacts, you're obviously interested in developing criteria to understand the influence of vehicles on tundra. This effort has lead to some interesting (but bloody cold) work in the artic which made it into a recent New York Times here.
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