Is the Arctic set to become a main shipping route?

Posted: November 3, 2018 by oldbrew in bbcbias, Ocean dynamics, predictions, propaganda, sea ice
Tags: , ,

Northwest Passage routes [image credit: NASA @ Wikipedia]


Probably not, but this report loses some credibility and misleads readers when it claims: ‘But in 2014 the Nunavik became the first cargo ship to traverse the [Northwest] passage unescorted when it delivered nickel from the Canadian province of Quebec to China.’ It fails to mention the obviously important fact that Nunavik is an icebreaking bulk carrier.

Wikipedia says: ‘She is strengthened for navigation in ice according to the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Polar Class 4, which allows year-round operation in thick first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions. Furthermore, she fulfills the requirements for ice class ICE-15 by Det Norske Veritas.’ So hardly the run-of-the-mill cargo ship that the BBC pretends it is.

Having tried to talk up the prospects of opening up this sea route, a note of caution is sounded: ‘However, some Arctic experts are not convinced that the Northwest Passage will ever be a busy commercial trade route.’ As well as unpredictable sea ice, unfavourable geography and disputed territorial claims are among the issues.

Climate change is increasingly opening up the Northwest Passage, an Arctic sea route north of the Canadian mainland, says the BBC.

Could it herald an era of more cargo shipping around the top of the world?

Back in the 19th Century there was a race to map and navigate the Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean as a shortcut between the North Atlantic and North Pacific.

Explorers would take ships up Greenland’s west coast, then try to weave through Canada’s Arctic islands, before going down the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia.

The problem was that even in the summer the route was mostly blocked by impenetrable ice. On one of the best-known expeditions – that of the UK’s Sir John Franklin in 1845 – all 129 crew members perished after their two vessels got stuck.

Today, more than 170 years later, a warming Arctic means that the route is increasingly accessible for a few months each summer.

And according to some estimates, Arctic ice is retreating to the extent that the Northwest Passage could become an economically viable shipping route.

For shipping firms transporting goods from China or Japan to Europe or the east coast of the US, the passage would cut thousands of miles off journeys that currently go via the Panama or Suez canals.

The Canadian government is certainly hopeful that this will be the case. Late last month the country’s trade minister Jim Carr said that the route “will in a matter of a generation, probably be available year round”.

At the moment it is still a risky business though, with ice remaining a serious problem.

But in 2014 the Nunavik became the first cargo ship to traverse the passage unescorted when it delivered nickel from the Canadian province of Quebec to China.

Continued here.

Comments
  1. oldbrew says:

    Down in the Antarctic, 2018 conditions were ‘among the coldest since 1979’.

    https://phys.org/news/2018-11-ozone-hole-modest-optimum-conditions.html

  2. Steve Richards says:

    That’s quite a sophisticated ship!

    For the details read here:

    https://fairplay.ihs.com/ship-construction/article/4050831/hudson-strait-icebreaking-trader-with-a-dual-role

    [mod] restricted access to website

  3. oldbrew says:

    Not quite the Arctic, but…

  4. tom0mason says:

    And from https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknFiJnKLwHCnL72vedxjQkDDP1mXWo6uco/wiki/Nunavik_%28ship%29.html

    In October 2012, Fednav announced that it had signed a contract with Japan Marine United Corporation for the construction of a new ice-strengthened bulk carrier at the Tsu shipyard in Tsu, Japan.[4] Previously, the company already operated two similar vessels with independent icebreaking capability: 1978-built Arctic and 2006-built Umiak I.

    The keel of the new vessel was launched at the Japanese shipyard on 19 July 2013 and she was launched only two months later on 29 September.[1] Initially set for delivery in December 2013,[4] the new vessel, Nunavik, was completed on 30 January 2014.[1] She is named after Nunavik, the area compromising the northern third of the province of Quebec, Canada.

    Nunavik is 188.8 metres (619 ft) long and has a beam of 26.6 metres (87 ft). Fully laden, she draws 10.2 metres (33 ft) of water and has a deadweight tonnage of 27.997 tons. She is strengthened for navigation in ice according to the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Polar Class 4, which allows year-round operation in thick first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions. Furthermore, she fulfills the requirements for ice class ICE-15 by Det Norske Veritas.

    Maybe one day all ship will be built like this. 🙂

  5. tom0mason says:

    I also note that the Nunavik is flagged MARSHALL ISLANDS.
    They better hope those Islands don’t get inundated by rising sea-level anytime soon.

    Nunavik is also powered by oil fired boilers.

  6. John, UK says:

    Questions to which the answer is most likely “No” #99999999 –
    “Is the Arctic set to become a main shipping route?”

  7. oldbrew says:

    Is commercial shipping prepared to gamble on a risky route? Probably not unless they’ve got icebreaker support and adequate (= expensive) insurance.
    – – –
    And the ‘warming Arctic’?

    Greenland ice sheet well above average in 2018
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/greenland-ice-sheet-well-above-average-in-2018/

  8. dennisambler says:

    Amundsen did it in a wooden hulled ship in 1907:

    THE NORTH WEST PASSAGE BEING THE RECORD OF A VOYAGE OF EXPLORATION OF THE SHIP “GJOA” 1903 – 1907 BY ROALD AMUNDSEN

    http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/IPY/ipy_009_pdf/G6501903A71908v1.pdf

    “We encountered no ice with the exception of a few narrow strips of old sound ice, carried by the wash. Of large Polar ice we saw absolutely nothing.

    Between the ice and the land, on either side, there were large and perfectly clear channels, through which we passed easily and unimpeded.

    The entire accumulation of ice was not very extensive. We were soon out again in open water.

    Outside the promontories, some pieces of ice had accumulated; otherwise the sea was free from ice.

    The water to the south was open, the impenetrable wall of ice was not there.

    ‘The next doubtful point was Bellot Strait, where McClintock; lay for two years waiting- for a chance to get through. But the fairly heavy swell indicated an open sea for many miles to the south, and as Bellot Strait was not far ahead, our anxiety was not very great. At 8 A.m.we passed through the strait. The only thing we met was a very narrow strip of broken land ice. The strait itself was densely fog bound. Outside the sea was clear.

    At 5.30 P.M. we met a quantity of ice off Cape Maguire,a fairly broad strip of loose ice. Beyond this we could see clear water.

    Captain Knowles reports the season the most open he has ever known. He entered the Arctic on the day we left Sari Francisco, May 22, and thinks the straits were open even earlier than that.”

    [mod] pdf link not working

  9. oldbrew says:

    “The Northwest Passage did not exist, and so could not be discovered, until Europeans invented it.”— Ken McGoogan, author of Fatal Passage (2001)

    https://libweb5.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/websites/northwest-passage/titlepage.htm
    – – –
    Roald Amundsen North-West Passage expedition 1903–06

    Amundsen’s ship, the Gjøa, was small (47 tonnes) and had a crew of just six men
    . . .
    As the water was as shallow as one metre, a larger ship could never have used Amundsen’s route . While his achievement ranks as one of the key milestones in the exploration of the Arctic, the discovery of a passage for commercial shipping – the original motive for finding the North-West Passage – was still out of reach.
    [bold added]

    Read more at https://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/roald-amundsen-north-west-passage-expedition-1903%E2%80%9306%20

  10. nickreality65 says:

    The fundamental premise of man-caused climate change is that the radiative greenhouse effect makes the surface of the earth 33 C warmer with an atmosphere than without an atmosphere, i.e. 288 K with minus 255 K without. What follows explains how that is simply not possible.

    First off, the 15 C, 288 K, global average is a wild ass guesstimate pulled out of WMO’s butt.

    The 255 K is the S-B BB calculated temperature of the net 0.3 albedo in/out top of atmosphere average 240 W/m^2 needed to maintain a habitable balance. (1,368/4=342*.7=240 & 255 K) The 255 K has absolutely no meaningful connection (Apophenia -WUWT) with the surface 288 K.

    Without an atmosphere the earth would be much like the moon, albedo 0.12, ToA average of 301 W/m^2 not 240 W/m^2 and 25% more heat. The equivalent S-B BB calculated temperature would be 270 K not 255 K. No atmosphere means no vegetation, water, snow, ice, oceans, clouds, etc. and no longer a 0.3 albedo.

    But this ToA averaged model is simplistic and unrealistic.
    Say the atmospheric earth is 308 K lit side, 268 K dark side, average 288 K, range 40 C.
    Say the non-atmospheric earth is 388 K lit side, 188 K dark side, average remains 288 K, range 200 C.
    Identical averages, but the first model is habitable, the second is not, a meaningless comparison.

    Let’s look at reality.
    ISR (incoming solar radiation)
    1,368 W/m^2, 0.0 albedo, net 1,368 W/m^2, S-B BB temperature is 394 K, 121 C, 250 F. This is why the ISS has a pair of redundant ammonia refrigerant coolers, chillers, AC systems. Space is hot, not cold.
    Without atmosphere, i.e. lunarific
    1,368 W/m^2, 0.12 albedo, net 1,204 W/m^2, S-B BB temperature is 382 K, 109 C, 228.2 F, above boiling point of water.
    With atmosphere, i.e. earthy
    1,368 W/m^2, 0.3 albedo, net 957.6 W/m^2, S-B BB temperature is 360.5 K. 87.5 C, 189.5 F, below boiling point of water.

    The without atmosphere is quite clearly 21.5 C hotter (382.0 – 360.5), not 33 C colder, than the with it atmosphere.

    Without an atmosphere the earth will be much like the moon, blistering hot on the lit side, bitter cold on the dark and most certainly NOT the average 255 K frozen ice ball that RGHE claims.

  11. Gamecock says:

    ‘Climate change is increasingly opening up the Northwest Passage, an Arctic sea route north of the Canadian mainland, says the BBC.’

    The BBC lies. Arctic sea ice varies from year to year. It always has, for the very limited time that we have observed it. That it is ‘increasingly opening up’ is a lie. That some strange force, ‘climate change,’ is behind it, is another lie.

  12. oldbrew says:

    The BBC looks like it’s drowning in its own climate propaganda.

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