Climate Change

The Arctic Transformed

the Arctic 2015.0312

Climate Change

Cold War in the Arctic, Climate Change (12 March 2015)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

The Cold War came to a swift end in the late 1980s with the collapse of the Soviet bloc. However, by now the Arctic itself seemed to be coming under increasing threat. Since 1979, global temperatures had been slowly rising and the average extent of Arctic sea ice receding. By 2015, the Northeast and Northwest Passages which had eluded navigators for centuries were now frequently open in summer and mineral reserves which had once been under ice were now accessible, leading to mounting territorial disputes between the five Arctic littoral nations.

Main Events

Decline of Arctic sea ice

Area covered by Arctic sea ice in September declines from 8 million to 5 million square kilometers

Greenland withdraws from EC

Greenland formally withdraws from the European Communities following the activation of the 1984 Greenland Treaty and in the wake of the 1982 Greenlandic referendum against EC membership

Fall of the Berlin Wall

After Hungary and Czechoslovakia open their borders to Austria, allowing tens of thousands of East Germans to escape to the West, the government of East Germany partially opens its border with West Germany. In the confusion over the new regulations, masses of East Germans gather at the Berlin Wall, overwhelming the guards and demanding to cross to the West. At 10:45 pm on 9 November, the guards relent. The Wall is swamped by celebrating East and West Germans, then torn down over the ensuing days.

German reunification

Dissolution of the Soviet Union

Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, declaring the office extinct.

Nunavut created

Federal government of Canada forms territory of Nunavut from eastern portion of Northwest Territories

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