Navy Prepares for Increased Arctic Role Due to Global Warming

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Global warming may wind up giving the U.S. Navy a new job. With the arctic ice pack shrinking rapidly, the North Pole could be entirely free of ice during the summer season within just 20 years. Such a development would create a brand new sea lane for shipping that has never before been available, reducing ocean-going travels from Asia to Europe by 2,500 miles. Naval commanders are already predicting that an Arctic sea route could become as popular as the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Malacca, which would require the Navy to be prepared to patrol the new open waters. The latest scientific data shows the Arctic could experience its first ice-free summer as early as 2030, which would be 70 years sooner than experts previously expected.

On August 21, two German ships, the Beluga Fraternity and the Beluga Foresight, set off from the Russian port of Vladivostok to bring cargo from South Korea to the Netherlands. If successful, this would be the first commercial crossing of the Arctic Northeast Passage from Asia to Europe, along Russia and Scandinavia.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Saving Fuel But Melting Ice Faster by John Perlin, Miller-McCune)


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