“The Northern Sea Route is predicted to have up to 125 days per year suitable for navigation by 2050,” says the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday. The report is not a wild-card scenario; “climate changes are already well underway,” reads the conclusion based on science- and research from around the globe.
Today the Northern Sea Route is open for navigation around 50 days, with an increase the latest four years. While the Russians have sailed interregional voyages from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk towards the north coast of Siberia for decades, transit shipping is relatively new. First ever bulk-vessel to sail the Northern Sea Route in transit was in 2010 with iron-ore from Kirkenes, Norway to China without making a stopover at a Russian port.
The scientists underline that predicted duration of ice-free periods in the Arctic Ocean is generally underestimated.
Shipping from major European ports to Shanghai is some 40 percent shorter via the Northern Sea Route compared with the Suez Canal. Shorter shipping distance cuts emissions, but increases the probability of shipping accidents with severe consequences for the fragile Arctic environment.
The ice-free period for shipping coincides with the breeding season of sea mammals and sea birds. Accidents with oil spill could therefore be disastrous.
Record low sea-ice was seen during summer in both 2007 and 2012.
Microsoft bought Nokia’s mobile division this past spring, and thousands of employees in Finland have been laid off. Oulu, a northern tech hub, was particularly hard hit, but new opportunities in new industries are springing up in the resilient northern community.
Poland has noticeably increased its activity in Arctic affairs in recent years. Next year the Arctic Council observer state will launch a program aimed at attracting more Polish companies to the north.
With some of the most beautiful of Norwegian, Russian and Latvian orchestra music on the repertoire, Arkhangelsk State Chamber Orchestra and the Norwegian saxophonist Ola Asdahl Rokkones are ready for a tour through Norway and Russia.
Photographer Cristian Barnett traveled around the Arctic Circle, capturing life at 66° 33′ 44″ N. The result is his new book and traveling exhibition, Life on the Line. BarentsObserver spoke with Barnett about his impressions of life on the Circle and the decisions he made to capture it.
It takes a village…to move a city? An entire Arctic town is being forced to relocate after the world’s largest iron ore mine got the green light to gobble up the land under the city. The lead architect for the operation talks about how the people of Kiruna have had to come together to create a new home.