Researchers at the UK’s University of Reading suggest shipping routes across the Arctic will open up dramatically in the coming decades. In a new report, the researchers suggest non-ice class ships will be able to transit the Arctic by 2050, even transiting right over the top of the area.
Moreover, the research shows that if CO2 emissions are not reduced – as per last year’s Paris Agreement – then moderately ice-strengthened vessels could be routinely sailing across the Arctic towards the end of this century for perhaps 10-12 months of the year.
“The reduction in summer sea-ice, perhaps the most striking sign of climate change, may also provide economic opportunities,” commented Reading’s Dr Nathanael Melia.
“There is renewed interest in trans-Arctic shipping because of potentially reduced costs and journey times between Asia and the Atlantic. So far only a few commercial vessels have utilised these routes as they are not currently reliably open.”