Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A result! Ships to sail over North Pole by mid-century

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere underwent one of its biggest single-year jumps ever in 2012, according to researchers at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Between the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2013, carbon dioxide levels increased by 2.67 parts per million — a rise topped only by the spike in 1998.

Meanwhile NBC News reports that by the middle of this century, thanks to climate change, anyone with a light icebreaker can spend their Septembers going anywhere they want in the Arctic Ocean, including straight over the North Pole.

This is the finding of a new study by University of California, Los Angeles.  Global warming to open 'crazy' shipping routes across Arctic is the headline NBC gave their story, whose angle appears to be that all this is “an upside to global warming”. It seems we are meant to understand it as “crazy” only in the sense that these seas will not be safe or open all year round.

The map is from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and shows that 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).

If you want to know where I get all this stuff from it's the Climate blog on the Think Progress site. I recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. I've now found the UCLA press release which underlies this story. I had hoped that the gee whiz more shipping routes angle was a spin put on it by NBC News. But actually it turns out that their story was a pretty fair summation of the press release.