Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cartographers, rejoice!

Here's an interesting, if not subtly disturbing story: the massive fields of ice that have for so long prevented maritime shipping along the Northwest Passage have receded to the lowest levels since satellite measurements began some 30 years ago. With the region navigable, thousands of miles could be cleft from current shipping routes which rely on the Panama Canal for passage between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, resulting in a drop in travel distance from nearly 13,000 nautical miles to less than 8,000. The previous low for Arctic ice levels was in 2005, when the ice had dropped to around 1.5 million square miles. What's particularly unsettling is the two-year, 500 thousand square mile drop that has brought the ice in the region to a paltry 1 million square miles.

Interestingly enough, sovereignty disagreements are beginning to stir regarding the seemingly-valuable region.

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Nick Woll grew up in the Florida Keys, and is furthering himself in the fields of writing, software development, and web design. You can contact him at nwoll27 at gmail dot com.