Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Story

Arctic shipping route could be open for business by 2017

A regular rotation of commercial shipping could be plying the top of the world by 2017, according to a Canadian scientist.

Conditions off the Arctic Ocean coast are starting to resemble its Pacific and Atlantic cousins – largely ice-free, said Dr. David Barber who is presenting his Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study at the International Polar Year Conference.

As a result, the shipping industry could be sailing through a favorable maritime climate in the next five to ten years due to ice that is thinning creating unfrozen ocean in December and January, according to Barber’s research.

However, Barber also cautioned that the evolving ice conditions and flows could pose hazards to shipping vessels.

"Just because you're reducing the ice like that, one of the things we found was that you increase the speed at which this ice moves," he told CBC News.

Polar shipping expert Lawson Brigham of the University of Anchorage disagrees with a viable Arctic-shipping route materializing any time soon, with too much ice and lack of a sound economic model.

"What we won't see — and what is covered in media a lot — is a new global shipping route," said Brigham.

For the full CBC story: www.cbc.ca



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