Arctic ice coverage sixth lowest since records began

Japan’s Weathernews has issued a report on sea ice trends in the Arctic Ocean for this year, published at a time where shipping in the region is receiving more interest than ever.

This summer, the Northwestern Passage – the Canadian side – is likely to open in mid-September, whereas the Northeastern Passage of the Arctic Ocean – the Russian side – has already opened in late August with a Cosco ship successfully transiting the route and a Maersk newbuild boxship midway through the journey.

The area of ice extent is melting at about the average rate recorded since 2010, and the minimum ice area is expected to be 4.4m sq km, about the same as last year and the sixth lowest since records began.

“This year, the transport of liquefied natural gas produced in the Arctic Ocean by specialized ships is gaining momentum, and regular usage of the Arctic Ocean passages is advancing,” Weathernews noted.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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