Northern Sea Route Partly Blocked Although Sea Ice Near Minimum

Press Release
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Map courtesy of NSIDC

So far this year only the southern passage has opened despite record low levels of Arctic sea ice.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the current extent is 760,000 square kilometers (293,000 square miles) below the previous record minimum extent in the satellite record (4.17 million square kilometers or 1.61 million square miles) which occurred on September 18, 2007. This difference is larger than the size of the state of Texas. The ice extent currently tracks nearly 50% below the 1979 to 2000 average minimum extent.

The situation in the Northwest Passage this year also contrasts with 2007. Both the narrow and shallow southern route used by the late polar explorer Roald Amundsen and the wide and deep northern route through the Parry Channel opened in 2007. This year only the southern route has opened. According to Stephen Howell of the Canadian Ice Service, rapid ice loss occurred in the Parry Channel in July. However, due in part to the August storm , a subsequent influx of multiyear ice from the north has kept at least some of the channel blocked.

These different patterns of ice loss in the sea routes between 2007 and 2012 highlight how a focus on overall total extent can overshadow regional aspects that have important implications. That 2007 was a record low extent at the time meant nothing to a ship trying to traverse the Northern Sea Route; likewise, the new record this year was meaningless to a ship trying to navigate through the Parry Channel.

Conditions in the Chukchi Sea, where Shell has started to drill for oil, provide another example. Shell’s operations were delayed in part because of greater than expected ice cover in the early summer. In the late summer, although passive microwave data showed that the Chukchi Sea was nearly ice-free, small floes of ice threatened Shell’s drilling platform, forcing the company to temporarily cease operations in the Arctic.
 

Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Stranded Virginia Beach Bulker Salvage Plan Set

The Coast Guard advises it is in the final stages of reviewing a salvage plan that is scheduled to begin Friday morning to move the 751-foot bulk carrier, 'Ornak',

Two Marine Engineers Join Specialists EBDG

Naval architecture, marine engineering & production support service providers Elliott Bay Design Group LLC (EBDG) apprise that they have appointed marine engineers

Inchcape Shipping Services Opens in Venezuela

Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS), the world’s leading maritime services provider, has expanded its network in Central and South America with the opening of ISS Venezuela in Puerto La Cruz,

Navigation

Maritime Reporter @ 75: The Daily Cartoon

Maritime Reporter & Engineering News was founded by John J. O'Malley (1905-1980) in 1939, and today ranks as the world's largest audited trade publication in the world serving the maritime industry,

Nigeria Maritime Academy Gets Bridge Simulator

A NAUTIS Full Mission Bridge Simulator was purchased and delivered to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron. The new simulator will be used to provide qualitative

S.Korean Ferry Master Faces Investigation

The captain of the South Korean ferry that capsized off the southwest coast was facing a criminal investigation on Thursday, an official said, amid unconfirmed

Arctic Operations

Canada Opts Out of Arctic Council Meeting

Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq stated that a principled stand had been taken by Ottawa against Moscow's intervention in events in Ukraine, reports

Treadwell: Arctic Security Should Be National Priority

Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell delivered the keynote address yesterday at the Arctic Collaborative Workshop in Fairbanks. Treadwell discussed five reasons why

Coast Guard Battles 24-inch Plate Ice

Coast Guard Cutters Morro Bay and Katmai Bay, homeported in Cleveland and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., conducted ice breaking operations in Marquette, Mich., Sunday.

 
 
Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1309 sec (8 req/sec)