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calendar   Tuesday - July 28, 2020

three cheers for global warming

Northwest Passage Open From Greenland East To Central Canada

image

Russian LNG Tankers Take The Short Route

The spike in shipping along the remote Russian Arctic shipping route comes as sea ice melting over the last weeks has reached unprecedented levels.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, ice levels on the 15th of July stood at 7.51 million square kilometers, which is 330,000 square kilometers below the record for the time of year set in 2011.

A key reason for the major sea ice melting is the heat wave that in May and June moved across the Russian Arctic coast, leading to very low sea ice extent in the Laptev and Barents Seas, the researchers say.

Already in mid-July, the Northern Sea Route (NSR) was almost ice-free and by 20th July there was completely open waters across the vast seaway.

Ice maps from the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute show that also the Vilkitsky Strait and the East Siberian Sea, the most icy and difficult parts of the sea route, has easy passage for ships.
Many ships

More than 50 vessels are currently sailing on the route, figures from the Northern Sea Route Administration show. Several of them are tankers bringing petroleum products from Arctic fields to Asian markets.

The first LNG carriers made it across the route already in late May, the earliest voyages on the route ever.

Ships from Asia are going the other way too, up north past Japan, around Kamchatka, and then west across the Arctic Ocean to Irkutsk.

The Northwest Passage is fully open from southern Greenland, east to north of Iceland, east to well north of Norway and Finland, east across the Barents Sea north past the island of Novay Zemlya into the Kara Sea. A slight choke point of ice just west of Bolshevik Island slows things down, but the passage is not iced over there. Once into the Laptev Sea, it looks like clear sailing if ships keep close to the Siberian coast into the Chukchi Sea and then south past Alaska and into the Pacific. Or the more daring could brave the narrow but open corridor across the Northwest Territory of Canada about as far as the Amundsen Gulf. After that the ice takes over, east through the small islands up there way north of Hudson Bay to the west side of Greenland.

Sail quickly comrades; this won’t last.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/28/2020 at 08:20 AM   
Filed Under: • EconomicsInternationalRussia •  
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