Thursday, February 28, 2013

New nautical charts for the Arctic

 
UPDATE, March 5: Grist.org reports today that by 2040 some ships will be able to cross the North Pole itself during the summer - a route now covered in 65 feet of ice. 

You may have heard that the Northwest Passage, the sea route between Europe and Asia via the Arctic, has been open, also here, and traversed by vessels. Now, in order to make navigation safer, NOAA is developing new sea charts for Alaskan coast areas seeing more shipping traffic. (NOAA, a US agency, provides charts and "other features required for safe navigation in US waters.)

Why is this important? Ships have not been able to travel here in the past. In fact, NOAA says in its announcement,
[M]any regions of Alaska’s coastal areas have never had full bottom bathymetric surveys, and some haven’t had more than superficial depth measurements since Captain Cook explored the northern regions in the late 1700s.
This is climate change coming our way. As Climate Central puts it:
The world as a whole is warming due to heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions, but the Arctic is warming faster than average thanks to something called “Arctic Amplification”: as bright, reflective sea ice melts, it exposes darker ocean waters, which absorb the Sun’s heat. That heat warms the air, which makes new, thick ice harder to form, setting the stage for even greater warming the following season. By 2030, or perhaps even earlier, the Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free during part of each summer. - See more at: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/noaa-to-map-alaskas-increasingly-ice-free-arctic-waters-15664#sthash.8fZF5qx8.dpuf
The world as a whole is warming due to heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions, but the Arctic is warming faster than average thanks to something called “Arctic Amplification”: as bright, reflective sea ice melts, it exposes darker ocean waters, which absorb the Sun’s heat. That heat warms the air, which makes new, thick ice harder to form, setting the stage for even greater warming the following season. By 2030, or perhaps even earlier, the Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free during part of each summer.

The world as a whole is warming due to heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions, but the Arctic is warming faster than average thanks to something called “Arctic Amplification”: as bright, reflective sea ice melts, it exposes darker ocean waters, which absorb the Sun’s heat. That heat warms the air, which makes new, thick ice harder to form, setting the stage for even greater warming the following season. By 2030, or perhaps even earlier, the Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free during part of each summer. - See more at: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/noaa-to-map-alaskas-increasingly-ice-free-arctic-waters-15664#sthash.8fZF5qx8.dpuf
The world as a whole is warming due to heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions, but the Arctic is warming faster than average thanks to something called “Arctic Amplification”: as bright, reflective sea ice melts, it exposes darker ocean waters, which absorb the Sun’s heat. That heat warms the air, which makes new, thick ice harder to form, setting the stage for even greater warming the following season. By 2030, or perhaps even earlier, the Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free during part of each summer. - See more at: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/noaa-to-map-alaskas-increasingly-ice-free-arctic-waters-15664#sthash.8fZF5qx8.dpuf
The world as a whole is warming due to heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions, but the Arctic is warming faster than average thanks to something called “Arctic Amplification”: as bright, reflective sea ice melts, it exposes darker ocean waters, which absorb the Sun’s heat. That heat warms the air, which makes new, thick ice harder to form, setting the stage for even greater warming the following season. By 2030, or perhaps even earlier, the Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free during part of each summer. - See more at: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/noaa-to-map-alaskas-increasingly-ice-free-arctic-waters-15664#sthash.8fZF5qx8.dpuf
The world as a whole is warming due to heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions, but the Arctic is warming faster than average thanks to something called “Arctic Amplification”: as bright, reflective sea ice melts, it exposes darker ocean waters, which absorb the Sun’s heat. That heat warms the air, which makes new, thick ice harder to form, setting the stage for even greater warming the following season. By 2030, or perhaps even earlier, the Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free during part of each summer. - See more at: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/noaa-to-map-alaskas-increasingly-ice-free-arctic-waters-15664#sthash.8fZF5qx8.dpuf
The world as a whole is warming due to heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions, but the Arctic is warming faster than average thanks to something called “Arctic Amplification”: as bright, reflective sea ice melts, it exposes darker ocean waters, which absorb the Sun’s heat. That heat warms the air, which makes new, thick ice harder to form, setting the stage for even greater warming the following season. By 2030, or perhaps even earlier, the Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free during part of each summer. - See more at: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/noaa-to-map-alaskas-increasingly-ice-free-arctic-waters-15664#sthash.8fZF5qx8.dpuf

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