Saturday, September 15, 2007

Northwest Passage melts

Global warming is presenting a global crisis in the arctic regions. With the Northwest Passage having now completely become ice free and opening up the feasibility of international shipping through it, yet another row is now developing in the region for the free international use of the route.

The Northwest Passage is an important geostrategic maritime route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean through a myriad of northern Canadian islands.The passage lies between Canada and Greenland, above the Arctic Circle, but below the north polar icecap. Explorers and sea farers throughout the world have been fascinated by the possibility of shipping through this region to commercially link Europe to the Orient since it is a shorter route and they wont have to bypass the American Continent by the South(Cape Horn) or use the Panama Canal. In comparison to the route through the Panama Canal, the transportation of goods through the northern archipelago of Canada would save approximately 4000 km from Europe to the Far East. Unfortunately the Passage was not a commercially viable trading route due to the shallow waterways and, in particular, ice blockades. It was covered by ice for 10 months of the year.The ice melts only partially during the remaining two months of the year.
Global warming has now altered this reality!

Image Credit: Wiki Images

Canada claims to have complete sovereignty over the region encompassing the islands/waterways and asserts that it will exercise complete control over all activity in that specific region while America and the European Union maintain that it is an international strait.

Apart from the question of sovereign authority,the region is also ecologically sensitive and commercial travel could affect the biome of the place.Another concern is the pollution of the pristine waters of the North (which make up 10 per cent of the world’s freshwater) which could be turn out to be very valuable in times to come.The alteration of the arctic ecosystem has various long term consequences that will not only affect Canada, but the entire world.


Anonymous said...

oh!! that's new! but those canadians shouldn't claim it as theirs! like we said its an international strait..but hope it affects us in a good way in the future! thanks for posting..ur info is always interesting..

Eternalsoul said...

@ anonymous
Thank you