The Contribution of Space Technologies to Arctic Policy Priorities

pipelines, road systems, railways and deep sea ports, and buildings of all kinds are required in order to access, process, store, and ship resource wealth. Community infrastructure refers to facilities not specifically associated with transportation or energy networks and includes private and public buildings, landfills, sewer, water, and solid waste facilities. Arctic activities must be supported by robust, accessible and cost-effective telecommunications and information technology systems which play a crucial role in the development of a prosperous and sustainable northern region. Delivering on infrastructure projects in the Arctic has particular challenges that are not common in southern communities given the remote areas and extreme climates, including the risks associated with permafrost. Long lead times are required to plan for shipping and delivery of materials and to secure contractors from a competitive and limited pool of experts. The construction season is short in the North given that the ground freezes significantly earlier in the year compared with the South. Permafrost also poses challenges for traditional construction methods. 6.2.2 Policy Policies related to economic development, in most cases, also include improvements to regional infrastructure. yy In Canada’s Northern Strategy (released in 2009) there is a focus on “promoting social and economic development” and to do this means “addressing critical infrastructure needs as modern infrastructure will contribute to a stronger economy, cleaner environment and increasingly prosperous communities.” yy Finland’s Strategy for the Arctic Region: Launched in June 2010, the Strategy defines Finland’s key objectives in transport and infrastructure, which are: to improve business opportunities in the Arctic by developing transport, communication, logistical networks and border crossings; and to develop transport routes in the Barents regions. yy Norwegian Government’s High North Strategy: Launched in 2006, the Strategy describes one of Norway’s key priority areas as providing a suitable framework for further development of petroleum activities in the Barents Sea, seeking to ensure that these activities boost competence in (North) Norway and foster local and regional business activity. In particular, one of the action points includes the analysis of the existing transport infrastructure and future needs of, and commercial basis for, new transportation solutions, such as a railway from Nikel to Kirkenes and new flights within the High North. yy Russia’s Arctic Policy to 2020 describes the specific requirement to improve infrastructure for sea mineral production and Arctic fishing. Russia intends “to modernize and develop the infrastructure of the Arctic transport system and fisheries in the Russian Arctic” (Heininen, 2011).

yy Sweden’s Strategy for the Arctic Region identifies the development of land transport and infrastructure as one component of their economic development policy priority. yy US Arctic Region Policy seeks to balance development with adequate research and assessment in the field of infrastructure, subsistence, community impact, living marine resources, alternative energy, etc. See also Policy Section 7.1.2 above on resource development, which includes discussion on the need for infrastructure to facilitate resource extraction. 6.2.3 Role of Satellite Systems COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS (Impact Medium) The applicationsof communications systems for infrastructure are similar to the requirements for resource development. Effective communications systems are necessary for the construction and ongoing maintenance of both the ICT and transportation and energy infrastructures in the Arctic. Opportunities exist to double the satellite bandwidth available for broadband in the North and provide a more robust, stable and affordable communications network to meet the needs of the north communities over the next decade. From an infrastructure development perspective, these expanded services will have an important positive impact on the ability to transmit the high volumes of satellite imagery that will be involved in the planning, construction and ongoing maintenance of new infrastructure in the Arctic. Of particular concern in the Arctic region is permafrost and its impact on structures. The warming climate is thawing permafrost, posing several risks including loss of mechanical strength of structures (foundations, pilings) due to freeze and thaw cycles. Improper siting, design and construction methods have led to structural failure, expensive fixes and/or abandoned facilities. Global warming also accelerates the erosion of shorelines and riverbanks, threatening the infrastructure located in these areas. Satellite weather systems, which are able to effectively monitor weather and climate change over the poles, can assist in predicting and understanding climate change trends and their impacts on physical infrastructure. GNSS positioning and navigation applications that are critical to infrastructure development include: position determination for the collection of geographical data and the production of precise mapping required for infrastructure planning and design; positioning of infrastructure right of ways and easements; precise positioning of infrastructure components such as bridges, dams, and electricity distribution stations and towers; and navigation to infrastructure facilities for repair and maintenance work. The precise timing capability of GNSS is also used by power generation companies to synchronize frequencies and to analyze frequent power blackouts. The exact location of a power line break can be determined by the precise timing of an electrical WEATHER SYSTEMS (Impact High) NAVIGATION SYSTEMS (Impact Medium)


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online