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Posted Thu Aug 25 2011: from BBC:
Arctic sea routes open as ice melts
Two major Arctic shipping routes have opened as summer sea ice melts, European satellites have found. Data recorded by the European Space Agency's (Esa) Envisat shows both Canada's Northwest Passage and Russia's Northern Sea Route open simultaneously. This summer's melt could break the 2007 record for the smallest area of sea ice since the satellite era began in 1979.... But the Northern Sea Route has been free enough of ice this month for a succession of tankers carrying natural gas condensate from the northern port of Murmansk to sail along the Siberian coast en route for Thailand. "They're often open at the same time in the sense that with some ingenuity you can get through them," observed Peter Wadhams, an Arctic ice expert from the University of Cambridge. "But this time they've really been open, with a proper Suez-size tanker going through the Northern Sea Route with a full cargo - that's a real step forward," he told BBC News.
[Read more stories about: arctic meltdown, death spiral, economic myopia]

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