14 Jul Diminishing Ice in the Arctic
A clear path through the Northwest Passage can be seen in this satellite data of sea ice concentration from September 2014. What used to be a rare occurrence is now common place in the Arctic as sea ice levels continue to decrease. In response, this week in Washington, DC, is the 6th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations, co-hosted by the U.S. National Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC). This biennial symposium began in 2001 to focuses on U.S. naval operations and national strategic issues in an “ice-free Arctic.” In recent years, the symposium has been expanded to include other Arctic nations. The discussion includes the impacts to maritime operations in an “ice-diminishing Arctic,” such as commercial transportation, oil and gas exploration and exploitation, fisheries, and oceanographic research, but the central focus is the continuing reduction in Arctic sea ice extent.