Making money off global warming

Summary:No old ice blocking the Northwest Passage.

Shipping companies are about to enjoy a centuries-old dream: the Northwest Passage will soon exist every summer across the Arctic. More profits moving stuff between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans via this new short-cut.

The older, impenetrable multiyears old ice is going away in the Arctic. The last three summers have been the three most ice-free summers on record for the Arctic. Current research shows no sheets of multi-year ice left in the open Arctic Ocean. What remains hugs the northern Canadian shoreline, far from shipping lanes. The new ice is often 20 inches or less in thickness, no problem for modern ships.

The melting ice has a feedback loop: darker ocean waters are exposed and they absorb more sunlight and the resulting warmth melts the remaining ice even faster. This effect of global warming is also causing northward migration of some pelagic animals as well as much jockeying for position to start drilling for oil and mining minerals in areas once blocked by the thicker ice. There are political shenanigans already about who controls what in the once frozen north. Canada wants to change the name of the Northwest Passage. Here's a summary of where the international claims now stand. As oil and other sources of wealth are found, you can be assured exploitation will follow.

What 19th Century explorers died trying to do, a modern sailing ship has done. From Victoria to Halifax by sea, over the North Pole.

Topics: Telcos

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.