Arctic Ocean — the new shipping channel?

From the Anchorage Daily News, on Wednesday, November 26, 2008:

With global warming melting the Arctic’s eons-old ice at an alarming rate, shipping and oil companies are looking ahead at how to exploit the new open waters.

For the past 30 years, the summer Arctic ice pack has been shrinking. In 2007, the melt reached record levels. This past summer, the ice shrank to the second-smallest area on record.

And while much of the discussions so far have been focused on dealing with global warming and on preserving habitat and protecting polar bears and walruses, another change is looming. When will commercial interests be able to develop the once-impregnable region?

Scientists say the Arctic’s seas could be essentially free of ice in the summertime by mid-century.

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