March 5 News: Ships Could Be Able To Traverse The North Pole By Mid-Century

According to a new study, something as small as a light icebreaker could go in the Arctic Ocean by the middle of the century, including straight over the North Pole, thanks to the ongoing effects of climate change. [NBC]

Ordinary vessels, which account for more than 99 percent of shipping traffic, could easily navigate the Northern Sea Route along the Russian coastline and, in some years, even find a route through the fabled Northwest Passage… the temptation is likely to prove irresistible to some shipping companies and adventurous tourists, which opens up new concerns about search and rescue infrastructure, the environmental impact from increased shipping traffic and the potential for oil spills, among other issues.

[Laurence C. Smith, a geographer and sea ice expert at the University of California, Los Angeles] and graduate student Scott Stephenson used the output of climate models to chart the fastest, most efficient, and realistic routes through the Arctic for different classes of ships that will become possible as more sea ice disappears each summer.[…]

The new findings, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate shipping companies willing to invest in light icebreaker technology, known as Polar Class 6 vessels, can avoid those fees by going over the North Pole or through the Northwest Passage.

Regular ships, too, will be able to navigate at least some of these routes unescorted. And, “it doesn’t matter whether we get serious about curbing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions or not,” Smith said. “Either way, the result is the same. The ice will thin sufficiently.”

The Mid-Atlantic states are bracing for a high-impact, heavy snowstorm starting late Tuesday and lasting through Wednesday. The storm has the potential to end Washington, D.C.’s longest snow drought on record. [Climate Central]

Ernest Moniz, President Obama’s new nominee for the Energy Department has argued that natural gas can serve as a “bridge fuel” to a lower-carbon future, rankling some in the environmental community. [WaPo]

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has announced he will sign two agreements that will render the city’s energy use coal-free by 2025. [Sierra Club]

A new op-ed in the Financial Times predicts peak oil demand could hit at less than 100 million barrels per day before 2020 and perhaps at a lower level even sooner. [FT]

The biological onset of spring could arrive up to five weeks earlier by 2100 in the northern U.S. than it does today, significantly altering ecosystems from Florida to Maine, according to a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters. [Climate Central]

An environmental group has told the European Union that it should ban the use of United Nations-approved carbon offsets from its emissions-trading system by 2020. [Bloomberg]

Climate change was a major driver behind a string of heat waves, bush fires, torrential rains, and floods that hit large sections of Australia in recent months, according to a report issued Monday by the government’s Climate Commission. [NYTimes]

23 Responses to March 5 News: Ships Could Be Able To Traverse The North Pole By Mid-Century

  1. Ken Barrows says:

    Mid-century? Hilarious.

  2. Jim says:

    That’s exactly what I was thinking. The melt time table has been moved from 2100 to 2060 to 2030 and now to “sometime in the next few years.”

  3. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    And this is a good thing? The benefits we reap are well worth the destruction of an ecosystem? Isn’t this sort of thinking what brought us to the brink of collapse? “Well Thelma, lets turn out the lights and go to bed. Company wants to go home.” -my dad

  4. Sasparilla says:

    I was thinking the same thing – in the context of John Holdren mentioning that simulations show the winter ice cap goes fairly quickly once the summer cap is lost…

    Based on those comments by 2050 the winter cap could be gone or close to gone….let alone the summer cap (which will be gone in a few years).

  5. Nick B says:

    There was a screening of Chasing Ice in a UK government building and afterwards a panel discussion where the graph showing PIOMAS data extrapolated out to total collapse of summer sea ice by 2015 was accepted as fact. Itr was good to see the veil of Met Office denial partially lifted (Julian Slingo still maintained that the models indicated it could stick around for a few more decades) but some guy called Colin Manson described it as an “irreversible tipping point” that we all accept and showed considerable irritation that we could not move faster to tie up deals on shipping routes and key ports to profit from this small-non-event-tipping point.

    These people are all completely crazy and see the environment as a hindrance to untapping full business potential.

  6. Sasparilla says:

    It hasn’t caught much attention outside of the oil circles but deserves some attention here at least:

    “Australian shale oil discovery could be larger than Canada’s oilsands”

    Verified reserves will come later, estimates are up to ~ 230 billion barrels or so (Canadian tar sands are ~ 170 billion barrels). They’ll need expertise to frack and unlock the oil and gas…

  7. Superman1 says:

    Do you get the feeling that there’s a climate change reality known to the ‘black’ community that’s vastly different from what we’re being told through official channels? There was obvious strategic interest in the Arctic for years, and copious measurements were taken. We have unclassified models with poor ice dynamics, and no positive feedback mechanisms, which are being used as the open-source basis of policy. What would the credible models be telling us?

  8. Superman1 says:

    I posted it a month ago. But, again, we have more than enough fossil fuel proven reserves to do us in many times over. These two won’t make a difference.

  9. nyc-tornado-10 says:

    as noted above, it is likely the arctic ice cap will not last past summer 2020.

    The report on north pole shipping by 2050 fails to say that when the ice cap melts, there will be catastrophic shifts in climate, increased warming feedbacks, and acceleration in sea level rise from the rapid melting of the greenland ice cap that will likely cause a collaps of civilization in a world of 9 – 10 billion people, which will end the need for economic trade (at least one good thing will come of this!). Good luck finding food to eat in 2050, or 2020 if the arctic continues to melt at the rate it has been in recent years.

    This is typical of the useless reporting we get from wall $treet sources.

  10. Paul Magnus says:

    I think after 2011/12 seasons and the impact this has had on food prices… it is now looking like the extreme events of the above years is set to continue now pretty much on a constant basis… that we are on for sever societal disruption before 2020.

  11. Paul Magnus says:

    Tipping points abound. Heres another tipping point…

    “The most stressed moose population now appears to be in Minnesota, where it has fallen from 8,840 to 2,760 in seven years, a drop of 69%, including a drop of 35% in the past year alone. ”

  12. Paul Magnus says:

    Game on ….

    Climate Portals shared a link.
    about an hour ago

    New SimCity game addresses climate change
    A 10-year wait ends Tuesday with the arrival of “SimCity”, a computer game that challenges players to build thriving cities in the face of conditions such as limited funds and climate change.

  13. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I saw part of the Editor’s of WSJ address to the Australian National Press Club yesterday in which she claimed that the Tea Party was a genuine grass roots movement taking the Republicans back to the centre, amongst other ‘war is peace’ statements. I can only imagine what she said about climate change, ME

  14. Calamity Jean says:

    By 2050 we’ll be lucky to have a little slush in the water in January.

    There will be alligators in the Potomac.

  15. Sasparilla says:

    Thanks Superman1, you’re right it won’t make a difference, but its good to see the new stuff the goons are trying to tap to get a feeling for what’s really going on out in petro world.

  16. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    The Arctic will be fully transversable, in all seasons, by ordinary shipping, well before then.

    Other than having to go around Greenland The Arctic can be circumnavigated in summer now. For the next year or so an ice breaker would be a good idea.

    There are too many variable for accurate timetables now. But that will change very soon.

  17. Paul Klinkman says:

    A light icebreaker should be able to traverse the pole in six months. The first year pancake ice (that round stuff in the picture) is easily shattered, easily broken up by icebreakers, and first year ice is all that’s left. The Arctic hasn’t been the real Arctic for years. It’s the Aarctic now.

  18. nyc-tornado-10 says:

    I believe that around 2010 the atmosphere went into a period of rapidly increasing disasters that is related to the artic meltdown, and it’s effect on the northern hemisphere’s climate.

    here in nyc, we are seeing alot more instances of 50+ mph winds. 50+ mph winds used to be rare in this area, maybe once every year or two from an extreme thunderstorm, a noreaster, or an unusual cold front. Now, winds over 50mph are happening more like once a season, there have been 2 or 3 storms since sandy that have accomplished this, we are now under a high wind warning (up to 60mph gusts) for tomorrow night’s storm, one model even predicts 75 mph on the coast, more excitement! It is possible that in the early 1060’s there were alot of strong storms on the atlantic coast, including hurricanes and noreasters, otherwise i do not know of any time were all these systems combined to produce the weather we have seen since 2010, and we have also seen more tornadoes in the city, almost unheard of until recent decades.

    On dr. Master’s weather underground blogs, some posters have commented that winds have been unusually strong and frequent in recent seasons, this may be the shape of things to come. A good time to invest in wind power?

  19. Paul Magnus says:

    Must see video…

    Climate Change and Intergenerational Evil
    This video was created to be the single best quickie overview of the problem (and solutions) to climate change / global-warming. In 2012 the speed and magnit…

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Soft denialism’ at its most imbecilic, relying on the target audience being totally ignorant of the truth. Plus looking on this Apocalyptic disaster as some sort of ‘good’, or more precisely, a sanctified ‘business opportunity’. Quite repulsive, all around.

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Any relation to Charlie, one wonders.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The ghouls won’t even get started before the ecological and economic collapses supervene.

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Just the reptiles from the Congress cooling off.