The Contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities

remainder of their Arctic regions. It is likely that other Arctic nations will follow and that this technology will only increase in relevance for air transportation safety. 4.3 Land Transportation 4.3.1 Overview Land transportation involves the movement of people and goods by means of vehicles operating on a network of roads, railways and trails. Such transport in the Arctic is much more limited than in the south and principally includes local freight trucking, long distance freight trucking, often over ice roads in thewinter, andmovement of people primarily by automobiles in built up areas and snowmobiles in more remote areas. The primary safety risks are related to travel over fragile ice and the potential for vehicle submersion if the ice is too weak to support the vehicle. The warming of the global climate has reduced the timeframe for safe use of ice roads in the Arctic. In addition, the increase in snow accumulation in the region (caused by the greater amount of precipitation and moisture in the air that warmer temperatures bring) will increase the difficulties and costs of keeping roads open and accessible. 4.3.2 Policy Improvements in land transportation are a priority for a number of Arctic nations, as reflected in their policy documents. yy Canada’s Northern Strategy: Our North, Our Heritage, Our Future identifies the strengthening of its land, sea and air capability and capacity as an implementation activity to strengthen its presence in the Arctic. yy Norway’s New Building Blocks in the North report proposes carrying out an analysis of the existing transport infrastructure and future needs of, and commercial basis for, new transportation solutions, such as improving the road system and expanding railway capacity (e.g., a railway from Nikel to Kirkenes). yy One of the objectives of Finland’s Strategy for the Arctic Region is to develop transport routes in Northern Finland and the Barents Region (i.e., to the BarentsSea and its hubs, Murmansk and Troms) in partnership with neighbouring countries. yy Russia’s Fundamentalsof StatePolicyof theRussian Federation in the Arctic in the Period up to 2020 and Beyond policy identifies modernizing and developing the infrastructure of the Arctic transport system as one policy priority. 4.3.3 Role of Satellite Systems COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS (Impact Low) Northern communities often utilize ice roads and travel in remote areas (e.g., along the ice-edge) during hunting and fishing expeditions or between isolated communities. Access to reliable satellite based mobile communications services, although expensive and not widely used, can be important for safety.


While GNSS is used for transportation on land, its application in the safety context is much more limited than for marine and air transportation, where the technology is critical for collision avoidance. As the availability of high quality digital map data increases, the use of GNSS for navigation over land by snowmobile may also grow.


Applications pertaining to safety in the Arctic include: the surveillance of ice cover on rivers and lakes used as ice roads; the monitoring of near-shore ice used as transportation corridors for northern communities; and the support for search-and-rescue missions on land and sea. The coverage of critical ice road infrastructure is primarily an issue in Canada, the US and Russia. Many northern communities can only be reached by road/ice road during winter and are only accessible by boat or air during the ice-free seasons. In the case of ice roads, surveillance is required at a high resolution, with the key parameters being the completed freeze-up and melt-onset, defining the start and end dates for operating ice roads. The floe edge (i.e., the boundary between immobile near- shore ice and moving sea ice), is useful for many northern communities for hunting and fishing. Maps of near-shore ice conditions derived from satellite radar imagery are increasingly used by northern residents as important navigation aids. 4.4 Policing 4.4.1 Overview Policing organizations operate within a legal framework that empowers them to enforce the law, protect property and limit civil disorder. In the Arctic region, policing can extend beyond law enforcement to include a variety of other sovereignty and security roles. For example, the main role of Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in the North is to deter activities that threaten border integrity or national security, and to ensure the legitimate use of inland waterways. But out of necessity the RCMP often acts as a first responder for incidents that fall under other federal jurisdictions (e.g., customs issues, immigration issues, potential terrorist threats, rescues, etc.) (RCMP, 2009). Policing in the Arctic is made more difficult by the isolation, extreme weather conditions and strong dependency on reliable transportation and communications. 4.4.2 Policy Only two of the policies published by the Arctic nations mentions the importance of policing in the region. yy Norway’s New Building Blocks in the North report states that the presence of police in the Arctic is imperative to meet its policy objective of exercising Norwegian authority in a credible, consistent and predictable way. yy Canada’s Northern Strategy: Our North, Our Heritage, Our Future has an objective of increased law enforcement presence and capabilities in the north (including satellite monitoring).


Access to reliable and timely weather forecasts is important for effective route planning and to ensure safe access to remote communities.


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