SHIP SETS RECORD FOR ARCTIC TRIP
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.
Trainee David Kullualik looks out as the icebreaker MSV Nordica arrives Saturday at Nuuk, Greenland.