About these ads

Global warming: Geographers eye future Arctic shipping routes

dfg

The fastest navigation routes for ships seeking to cross the Arctic Ocean by mid-century include the Northwest Passage (on the left) and over the North Pole (center), in addition to the Northern Sea Route (on the right).

New study looks at Arctic sea ice projections and also explores geopolitical issues

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A new study helps quantify some of recent speculation about shipping routes through the Arctic, indicating that, in 40 years, normal seagoing vessels will be able to  navigate previously inaccessible parts of the Arctic Ocean without the help of icebreakers.

The Arctic ice sheet is expected to thin to the point that polar icebreakers will be able to navigate between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans by making a straight shot over the North Pole, according to UCLA geographers Laurence C. Smith and Scott R. Stephenson. Continue reading

About these ads

Climate: Arctic sea passage along Russian coast thaws early

Northeast Passage expected to open in early summer this year; route along Russian coast offers a 4,000 mile shortcut between Europe and Asia

The EM-Bird over thin ice: The picture was taken with a camera mounted inside the MI-8 helicopter. It shows the EM-Bird 15 meters above a layer of rafted thin ice, approximately 10 centimeters thick. Photo: Thomas Krumpen, Alfred Wegener Institute.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a series of measurement flights over the Laptev Sea, scientists with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research are predicting that the Northeast Pass, an Arctic Ocean shortcut along the north coast of Russia, will once again be ice-free and passable to ships by early summer.

The Laptev Sea is known as in ice factory, but at the end of the winter, researchers discovered large areas of thin ice that won’t survive the summer melting season.

“These results were a great surprise to us,” said expedition member Dr. Thomas Krumpen.

In previous measurements in the winter of 2007-2008 the ice in the same area had been up to one meter thicker. Krumpen said the difference is mainly due to wind. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,391 other followers