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

People & Company News

US Aircraft Carrier 'Ike' Leaves Drydock

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) has left dry dock and moved from Dry Dock 8 to pier 42/43 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) in Portsmouth, Va.

Seadrill's Q2 2014 Revenue Holds Nearly Steady

Revenues for the second quarter of 2014 were US$1,222 million compared to US$1,221 million in the first quarter of 2014, according to the company's financial report.

Pariah Containership Banned from Australian Ports

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) informs that it has issued a direction to the container ship 'Vega Auriga' (IMO 9347786) that prohibits the ship

Navigation

Pine Galaxy Expected to Arrive in San Francisco Today

The disabled mixed-products tanker Pine Galaxy is expected to arrive in San Francisco Wednesday morning. The ship is being towed by commercial tug to San Francisco Bay.

SevenCs Debuts Aviation Module for ECDIS Kernel

The new 5.18 version of the EC 2007 software development kit (SDK) from SevenCs is available for both Windows and Linux applications, updated to now include support

GPS Satellites Launched, Stray Off Course

Following an announcement made by Arianespace on the anomalies of the orbit injection of the Galileo satellites, the teams of industries and agencies involved in

Arctic Operations

Collaboration Tackles Sea Spray Icing Challenges

Sea spray icing is one of the major challenges when operating in Arctic conditions. DNV GL is now launching an industry collaboration which will develop a simulation

DNV GL’s Arctic Map Shows Complex Risk Picture

The world’s need for energy is driving interest in further industrial activity in the Arctic, yet the region’s conditions are highly variable depending on the type of activity,

First Shipment of Russian Novy Port Oil

Gazprom Neft provided a summer shipment of oil from Novoportovskoe deposit – for the first time, the raw material was taken by sea and sent to European consumers,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.3254 sec (3 req/sec)