Look at This: Map of Future Arctic Shipping Routes

By Breanna Draxler | March 4, 2013 2:26 pm

Optimal September navigation routes for ice-strengthened (red) and common open-water (blue) ships traveling between Rotterdam, The Netherlands and St. John’s, Newfoundland in present years (left) and in future (right).  Image courtesy Laurence C. Smith and Scott R. Stephenson/PNAS

The extent of Arctic sea ice has been diminishing since the late 1970s due to climate change, and this decline is predicted to continue in the coming decades. The prospect of open water in these previously icy areas has sparked a lot of speculation about ships being able to navigate between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans through the Northwest Passage or over the North Pole.

Now scientists have analyzed sea ice projections from seven different climate models to come up with an idea of what our shipping routes might look like by midcentury, which they published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today. The picture is very different than the one we have now—a boon for commerce with yet-to-be-determined environmental ramifications.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Top Posts
  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.johnson.7902564 Mike Johnson

    I understand that real data here is lacking over anything that might be considered to be “geological time frames” so I will just accept that the Arctic ice will disappear as an obstacle to navigation and exploration.
    There will be enormous savings in energy allocated to transport and enormous resources will be unlocked certainly.
    It will remain to be seen if the opportunities are sufficient to the risks.

  • Georg Schoen

    “”ships traveling between Rotterdam, The Netherlands and St. John’s, Newfoundland””
    Aha,
    but why do they go to Bering strait in between?

    • JonFrum

      So much for anyone reading comments, much less reading copy before posting it.

  • Buddy199

    Far less fuel used. Polar bears do know how to swim. What’s the problem?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rocky.racoon.334 Rocky Racoon

    I hope the whales protest and knock them off there bearings. Anyway don’t get your hopes up-the weather will be so erratic that enough shipwreaks will make insurance costs unfeasible. Knowing our idiot government will probably set up a fund just to help push us closer to the end. This is nothing to celebrate. The methane released from warming seas will also make the area a no man’s land.

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