Global Warming Opens "Arctic Passage"
By MATT MOORE and SETH BORENSTEIN
Condensed by Native Village
Frankfurt, Germany: Two German
ships have steered through the fabled
Northeast Passage thanks to global
warming. The melting ice opened a route
from South Korea along Russia's Arctic
coast to Siberia.
Now the ships will complete their
journey to the Netherlands through the
cold waters where icebergs abound. The
ships are carrying 3,500 tons of
report that the Arctic Ocean ice cap has
been shrinking to unprecedented levels.
NASA satellites show that Arctic sea ice
is not just shrinking in area, but
"We are seeing an expression of climate
change here," said Mark Serreze from the
National Snow and Ice Data Center in
Boulder, Colo. "The Arctic is warming;
we're losing the sea ice cover. The more
frequent opening of that Northeast
Passage is part of the process we're
seeing. The Arctic is becoming a blue
A journey from South Korea to the
Netherlands is about 11,000 nautical
miles (12,658 miles). By going northward
and using the Northeast Passage, 10 days
and about 3,000 nautical miles (3,452
miles) can be shaved off. That means
lower fuel costs.
This year is shaping up to have the
third lowest amount of Arctic sea ice on
record, just behind the worst year set
in 2007 and in 2008. But just because
2009 is slightly up from the past two
years, it is not an upward trend or a
recovery, Serreze said. It reflects a
change in local weather patterns that
occurred in August.
"It's certainly part of the overall
decline of sea ice that we've been
seeing," he said.
Volume 4 October 2009
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