The Denver Post - - NEWS -

NUUK, GREEN­LAND» Af­ter 24 days at sea and a jour­ney span­ning more than 6,214 miles, the Fin­nish ice­breaker MSV Nordica has set a new record for the ear­li­est tran­sit of the fa­bled North­west Pas­sage.

The once-for­bid­ding route through the Arc­tic, link­ing the Pa­cific and the At­lantic oceans, has been open­ing up sooner and for a longer pe­riod each sum­mer due to cli­mate change. Sea ice that foiled fa­mous ex­plor­ers and blocked the pas­sage to all but the hardi­est ships has slowly been melt­ing away in one of the most vis­i­ble ef­fects of man-made global warm­ing.

Sci­en­tists pre­dict the North­west Pas­sage will be largely ice free in the sum­mer by 2050 if cur­rent lev­els of warm­ing con­tinue.

For now, the pas­sage re­mains a chal­lenge for con­ven­tional ships and ef­forts are be­ing made to pre­vent frozen wa­ter­ways that the lo­cal Inuit pop­u­la­tion de­pends on for travel from be­ing opened up.

The As­so­ci­ated Press

Trainee David Kul­lu­a­lik looks out as the ice­breaker MSV Nordica ar­rives Satur­day at Nuuk, Green­land.

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