Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Babson Research Finds Challenges To Ice Road Economy In The Arctic

06.07.2011
Babson College Finance Professor Michael Goldstein’s research on the impact of the ice road economy in the Arctic finds:

• Road construction and maintenance techniques can lengthen ice road seasons, saving between $6 million and $27 million a year in transportation costs.

• Reliance on ice roads also entails significant economic risk: modeling indicates the roads may fail to deliver sufficient supplies almost 27% of the years examined at a potential additional cost of up to $84 million for each failed year.

• While engineering can make marginal changes, it cannot adapt sufficiently to account for additional costs due to rapid climate changes or variability.

• To ensure future operations, mines will either be shut or alternative transportation modalities will be required.

Goldstein presented “Cold Hard Cash: The Economic Importance of Ice in the Arctic” and “Grateful Dettah: The Value of an Ice Road to a Small Community in the Northwest Territories of Canada,” at the 7th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VII), in Akureyri, Iceland.

The Congress, whose theme was “Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences beyond the International Polar Year,” was held at the University of Akureyri, 60 miles from the Arctic Circle, on June 22.

Goldstein led co-presenter Nick Pineda, Class of 2011, and other Babson students on a research project last March in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, where they studied the economic impact of ice roads near the Arctic Circle. View the course web site at http://faculty.babson.edu/goldstein/goldsteingroup/. View Goldstein’s video on the effort at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lYsgSKGzS8Y.

The effort, funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, was part of the Babson course, Arctic Economics: Environment and Seasonality.

Goldstein presented research from both papers, and Pineda presented results from a survey he conducted during the March Yellowknife project as part of the “Grateful Dettah” presentation. See abstracts below.

Cold Hard Cash: The Economic Value of Ice in the Arctic

We are studying the effect of changing seasonality on the Arctic economy by examining a unique 600-km "ice road" over frozen lakes and tundra constructed yearly in northwestern Canada. The road supplies three diamond mines with fuel and material. The mines account for 30% of the Gross Domestic Product of Canada’s Northwest Territories, employing 4,000 people, roughly 35% of whom are Aboriginal. Winter operations of the ice roads hinge on predictable seasonal transitions (summer-to winter; winter-to-summer) and cryospheric conditions. Seasonal shifts are already adversely impacting minerals activities in the North with a trickle down impact on local and Northern economies.

Using data from 1959 to 1996, we examined how anticipated changes in seasonality will affect economic performance in the next decade and whether adaptive strategies can reduce the economic sensitivity of this key industrial sector to longer or shorter seasons, or a warmer, wetter, or more variable climate.

We find road construction and maintenance techniques can lengthen ice road seasons, saving between $6 million and $27 million a year in transportation costs. However, reliance on ice roads also entails significant economic risk: modeling indicates the roads may fail to deliver sufficient supplies almost 27% of the years examined at a potential additional cost of up to $84 million for each failed year. While engineering can make marginal changes, it cannot adapt sufficiently to account for additional costs due to rapid climate changes or variability. To ensure future operations, mines will either be shut or alternative transportation modalities will be required.

Grateful Dettah: The Value of an Ice Road to a Small Community in the Northwest Territories of Canada

We study the social and economic value of short ice road that the Department of Transportation of the Government of Northwest Territories (NWT) builds each year between Yellowknife, the capital of NWT, and Dettah, a small native first-nation community across an inlet of Great Slave Lake, even though there is a longer all weather road available year-round. The Dettah ice road is only open for about 115 days a year on average and about 58,500 trips are taken on the road each year on average. When the Dettah ice road is open, trips on the all-weather road drop precipitously. Estimates suggest that, of the 460 average daily trips on the Dettah ice road, about 150 per day would have otherwise been on the all-weather road had the Dettah ice road not existed, and about 330 trips a day occurred only because the Dettah ice road was open.

Since the 7.8 km Dettah ice road is shorter than the 23.3 km all-weather road, a trip on the Dettah ice road saves both distance (15.5 km) and time (11 minutes and 15 seconds). Cumulatively, on average the Dettah ice road saves an average of about 811,000 km and a year and 44 days of time per year over taking the same number of trips on the all-weather road. As a result, taking the Dettah ice road saves about C$160,000 in gas savings and about C$88,000 in time (if time is valued at the NWT minimum wage). In addition, about 2.2 million kg of CO2 emissions are avoided, valued at an average of $4,000 per year. Collectively, these values far exceed the C$10,000 that it costs the NWT to build the road.

A survey of 106 unique drivers on the Dettah ice road also indicates who is driving the Dettah ice road and why. This survey was designed and conducted on the Dettah ice road on March 17, 2010 by Babson students at the request of the Government of Northwest Territories. It suggests that 48% of the drivers take the road for business or work, while others take it for recreation, shopping, or going to school. However, travelers who live in Yellowknife were more likely to use the road for business and recreation, while Dettah residents were more likely to use the road for going to school and for shopping. Age ranges of travelers on the road were reasonably distributed by age groups from 20 to 50+.

Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All KindsTM. The College is a dynamic living and learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society—while at the same time evolving our methods and advancing our programs. We shape the leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to create economic and social value. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and ActionTM as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.

Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., is recognized internationally as a leader in entrepreneurial management education. Babson grants BS degrees through its innovative undergraduate program, and grants MBA and custom MS and MBA degrees through the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Babson Executive Education offers executive development programs to experienced managers worldwide. For information, visit www.babson.edu.

Michael Chmura | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.babson.edu

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Europe's microtechnology industry is attuned to growth
10.03.2017 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

nachricht Preferential trade agreements enhance global trade at the expense of its resilience
17.02.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>