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Saturday, September 15, 2007

 

Record sea ice loss opens Northwest Passage

‘Sea ice in the Arctic has sunk to its lowest level since satellite record-keeping began, fully opening the most direct route through the Northwest Passage, the European Space Agency said Friday.

The much-coveted shortcut connecting Asia to Europe through the Canadian Arctic has been historically impassable.

The European Space Agency says sea ice continues to melt year after year, but a drastic drop this year has made the direct route “fully navigable” for the first time since satellite records began in 1978.

“We have seen the ice-covered area drop to just around three million square kilometres,” said Leif Toudal Pederson from the Danish National Space Center.

Over the past decade, he says, a drop of about 100,000 square kilometres per year is the average.

“So a drop of one million square kilometres in just one year is extreme,” said Toudal.’




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