Maquina Lectora

Notes of a curious mind

Tag: Arctic

A Farewell to Arctic Ice by Peter Wadhams

Only a few people in the world know ice better than Peter Wadhams. A professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge, Peter Wadhams is a world authority on sea ice. His  book ‘A Farewell to Ice’ is a report from the Arctic, and the consequences of the loss of the summer sea ice. It is also a personal history of a scientist and his extraordinary work in the polar regions in the past 35+ years.

Peter Wadhams believes the Arctic has reached a tipping point, that is a  point at which a certain system that has been stressed beyond a certain level does not return to its original state when that stress is removed. He predicts that  Arctic will be be ice free in the next few years and that would have a series of disastrous consequences for the whole planet.

The retreat of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is important because the loss of sea ice is changing the global albedo (the reflected sunlight). A vast area will change from white (ice) to blue (sea), therefore less energy will be reflected back into space. It means that the global warming will increase.

The darker ocean will absorb more energy which warms the water which melts more ice, which further warms the ocean, which melts more ice, in a spiraling feedback loop.

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Northern Sea Route Season Opens (Lloyds List)

Increased traffic predicted as Russia pushes Arctic short-cut between Europe and Asia.

This year’s season of sailings of the northern sea route across Russia’s far north is about to open with more vessels than ever registered to use the short cut between Europe and Asia. The number of vessels that have used the route as a transit has increased in the three years since the Russian authorities began promoting the option to international shipping. Around 34 vessels made the journey last year, up from 4 in 2010. Last year, more than 800,000 tonnes of oil, gas condensate or iron ore was shipped to Asia. This year that could top 1.5m tonnes.

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