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How does Arctic ice affect shipping and navigation and how may this change in the future?


How does Arctic ice affect shipping and navigation and how may this change in the future? Bullers Wood School, Chislehurst, Kent Will this image be an increasingly ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How does Arctic ice affect shipping and navigation and how may this change in the future?

How does Arctic ice affect shipping and
navigation and how may this change in the future?
  • Bullers Wood School, Chislehurst,
  • Kent

Will this image be an increasingly common sight
in the waters of the Arctic.?
  • Discussion topics
  • Ice in the Arctic
  • Ice and navigation
  • The impact of the seasons on the seaice
  • Current shipping and navigation in the Arctic
  • What would the benefits of less sea-ice be?
  • Different opinions about shipping and navigation
    in the Arctic

Ice in the Arctic
  • The Arctic consists of the Arctic ocean and the
    land area surrounding it including parts of the
    Russia, Canada, Greenland and Norway
  • For much of the year the Arctic Ocean is covered
    with sea-ice
  • Ice comes in different shapes and sizes the
    indigenous people have around 80 terms for the

Arctic Ice facts and formation (1)
  • Average Arctic ice thickness is over 2 metres,
    but it varies.
  • Newly formed ice few millimetres
  • Older ice over 10 metres
  • Canadian Archipelago ice 6 8 metres
  • In the winter salt water freezes at -1.8 degrees
  • The frozen seawater floats freely in the ocean,
    moved by wind and water currents. It is called
    drift ice
  • Large chunks of drift ice are called ice floes
    and can measure up to 9.7 kilometres across
  • When drift ice joins together its called pack

Arctic Ice facts and formation (2)
  • Sea ice has different stages of development,
    related to thickness and age. By age there are
    two distinctions first year ice, and multiyear
  • First year ice thicker than 30 centimetres but
    melts in the summer season  
  • Multiyear ice survives the summer melt, reforms
    and gains in thickness 2 to 4 meters thick  
  • 2 early forming types of ice are
  • Pancake ice
  • Grease ice

Pancake Ice
  • Pancake ice is called this because it consists of
    round pieces of ice which can be quite thick
  • Each piece of ice looks like a pancake
  • The pancakes are formed by
  • flat but hard pieces of ice break off
  • These ice pieces are made round by the action of
    turbulent, high energy waves

Grease Ice
  • Grease ice is very thin and quite soupy
  • It is formed by ice crystals being blown out of
    the water and being clumped together
  • The reason it is called grease ice is because its
    consistency resembles oil slicks

Some of the 80 types of ice
  • Greenlandic/Kalaallit English
  • Siku Sea ice
  • Aakkarneq Current formed sea ice
  • Qilliliaq Sea ice, with no snow on it
  • Sikuliaq Sea ice thin ice
  • Maniillat Uneven, pack ice
  • Tuaaq Sea ice connected with land
  • Siku Ice on a lake
  • Nutarmeq Thin ice formed in a closed crack
  • Iluliaq Ice berg
  • Sikup qaava Ice expanse

The future of Arctic Ice
  • According to a NASA report (2006) about
    multi-year ice
  • long term we find a reduction of between 6.4
    and 7.8 per decade (Dr Nghiem)
  • (Data determined using the scatterometer on
    Nasa's Quikscat satellite)

How does ice stop shipping?
  • Ice particularly pack ice - stops shipping by
    building up in the Arctic winter months, making
    it impassable for ships
  • As a result, The Northern sea-route and North
    West Passage, both connecting the Atlantic and
    Pacific Oceans is only passable during the Summer
  • However there may be large lumps of ice lurking
    beneath the waters surface
  • These lumps are potentially problematic if one
    makes contact with the hull (bottom) of the
  • There could be a torn hull,
  • The propeller may get damaged
  • The ship may sink (we have all seen the film
  • all the cargo will get scattered and any crew may
  • great loss in financial terms

What impact do the seasons have on sea ice?
  • During the winter months the Arctic is tilted
    away from the Sun and therefore receives little
    heat, light or radiation
  • This means sea-ice builds up in the colder
    months, as the temperature is below the freezing
    point of water
  • In the Arctic Summer the area is subjected to 24
    hour daylight, causing the sea-ice to break apart
    and melt
  • Global Warming has meant the melting of sea-ice
    has increased due to the increase of the
    atmospheric temperature

Annual Growth and Retreat of the Polar Ice
How do the seasons affect Shipping in the Arctic?
  • Between late June / early July and early August
    the North Pole is titled towards the Sun
  • During this summer period, the Arctic is
    constantly being bathed in the Suns heat,
    causing the ice to melt and the seas to flow more
  • As a result, between August and early October,
    ships could potentially pass through the Arctic
    Ocean because most hidden ice has melted leaving
    a safer route largely ice free
  • However, as yet, the ice free period is not long
    enough to make use of the Arctic for commercial
    shipping a realistic financial option

Current Navigation and Shipping in the Arctic
  • Despite the dangers, shipping and navigation does
    happen in the Arctic Ocean. Even in Winter
  • Shipping is assisted by
  • Ice-breakers
  • Ice-navigators

  • Ice-breaker ships are used to break the ice in
    the Arctic so that ships can get through the
    Arctic safely
  • Icebreaker features
  • They are very heavy
  • They have sloping bows
  • The bow is heavily re-inforced
  • They are very powerful
  • The icebreaker's bow passes over and on top of
    the ice at speed
  • The bow then forces down heavily on the ice,
    breaking it up
  • As the ice-breaker moves forward, this leaves an
    ice free channel through the ice-pack

Ice Navigators
  • Ice navigators work on ice breakers or on ice
    class ships
  • They help and advise the captain when they are
    crossing through the Arctic
  • Their information comes from maps and satellites,
    such as Radarsat 1 and MODIS
  • When an Ice Navigator is on the ship there are
    many things they have to endure such as
  • Hypothermia
  • Stress
  • Darkness
  • Frostbite
  • Ice on the ship

Current Navigation in the Arctic
  • There are 2 shipping routes through the Arctic
    which connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
  • The Northwest passage through the Canadian
  • The Northern Sea route which follows the
    coastline of Norway, Russia and Japan
  • Both routes enter the Pacific Ocean through the
    Bering Straits

The Northern Sea Route
  • The Northern Sea route provides more economic
    benefit than the North west passage
  • It is an easier and shorter route
  • It also provides access to oil fields in the
  • The Northern sea route is ice free for 8 weeks
    but with ice-breaker assistance, ice-strengthened
    vessels can sail during winter
  • The route is used primarily by Russia who also
    claim jurisdiction over the waters

The Northwest Passage
  • The passage is open from July to October
  • But it is navigable for ships for only 4 6
    weeks each summer
  • 2007 clear of ice for first time since records
    began (30 years ago) according to the European
    Space Agency
  • Currently Canada claims full rights over the
    parts of the route that pass through its
  • This is disputed by the EU and the USA who argue
    that it should be an international strait

What would be the benefits of less sea ice?
  • Between 1972 and 1990 the ice extent in the
    summer prevented major commercial use of either 2
    routes through the Arctic
  • The projected ice extent in 2030 would allow much
    greater use of the Arctic ocean
  • Commercial activities
  • Container shipping
  • Oil and gas exploration
  • Tourism

Container shipping (1)
  • Economies and consumers in Europe and North
    America depend on goods made in Asia especially
  • The majority of goods found on the UK high street
    were made in Asia.
  • They are shipped from production sites in Asia to
    markets in North America and Europe in
  • WE rely on the transport of containers

Container shipping (2)
  • Using containers on large vessels makes the
    transport cost per item much cheaper due to
    economies of scale
  • However, the economic and environmental cost of
    transport increases with increased distance and
    delays to the transit..

Container shipping route
  • Containers are currently shipped from Asia to
    Europe via Singapore, the Indian Ocean, the Suez
    Canal and the Mediterranean Sea
  • This general route is followed by all container
    shipping companies

The Suez Canal and the Northern Sea Route
  • The Northern Sea Route goes to the North of
    Eurasia through the Arctic and South to Europe
  • This would save time and resources
  • The Suez Canal Route is longer and there are
    potential delays in congested Asian ports and the
    Suez canal

A New route option? (1)
  • Using the Northern sea route would reduce journey
    lengths by 10 days. (from North Asia to
    Northwestern Europe)
  • Ships currently travel 12840 miles from Japan to
    Europe via the Suez Canal but if they use the
    northern sea route it would be 5570 miles.
  • A reduction of 7270 miles
  • (source Jerome Varny, Container shipping on
    the Northern sea-route)

A New Route option? (2)
  • Commercial use of the Northern sea route or
    Northwest Passage might be a very tiny benefit of
    global warming.
  • Reduced distance means reduced fuel consumption
  • Billions of dollars in transportation costs could
    be saved each year, potentially making goods in
    shops cheaper for consumers
  • Reduced fuel useage means less fossil fuels are
    being burnt to create energy.
  • In turn this reduces the amount of CO2 being
    released into our atmosphere, potentially
    reducing the contribution of shipping to the
    enhanced greenhouse effect

Oil and Gas supply benefits? (1)
  • With the increase in Global Warming the Arctic
    Sea Ice is melting in greater quantities
  • This means that there is easier access to the
    sea-bed below
  • Russia has staked a claim on the sea-bed beneath
    the ice possibly due to the potential of oil /
    gas reserves
  • Russia was so keen to stake their claim that a
    Russian submarine was in fact able to break
    through under the ice to plant a flag 2 miles
    beneath the surface of the ice.

Oil and Gas Supply benefits? (2)
  • The dark patches on the map show oil/gas
  • In the Arctic sea ice and surrounding area there
    is 90 billion barrels of oil
  • This is enough to supply the world for three
    years at current consumption rates
  • This would be a massive benefit for the world
    because known reserves are running out

Oil and Gas Supply benefits? (3)
  • Oil produced in Alaska could move quickly by ship
    to eastern North American and European markets.
  • The vast mineral resources of the Canadian North
    will be much easier and economical to develop.
  • This opportunity for fast and cheap shipping
    between the Atlantic and Pacific is one of just a
    very small number of benefits that global warming
    might produce.

Tourism Benefits?
  • Tourism may increase in the Arctic because
  • bigger ships can now travel round the Arctic,
    meaning more people
  • There will be more ports to stop off at to make
    the tourists trip more exciting
  • The tourists will have a chance to see the Arctic
    wildlife in their natural habitat.
  • However, with less sea ice there is a smaller
    area of ice habitat for animals
  • This change to the natural ecosystem may mean
    that fewer tourists will want to visit

Opinions about increased use of the Arctic for
  • Arctic Council
  • an expected increase in shipping threatens to
  • introduce invasive species,
  • harm existing marine wildlife through collisions
  • lead to damaging oil spills
  • Seabirds and polar bear and seal pups are
    particularly sensitive to oil and can quickly die
    of hypothermia if it gets into their feathers or
  • Whales, as well as walruses and seals, can have a
    harder time communicating, foraging and avoiding
    prey in noisy waters.
  • the Arctic marine environment is especially
    vulnerable to potential impacts from marine

Opinions about increased use of the Arctic for
  • Pablo Clemente-Colón (chief scientist at the
    National Ice Centre) the open water in the
    passages over Russia, particularly, remains
    clotted with thick, dangerous floes and can also
    close up in a matter of hours.
  • Insurance companies will be reluctant to insure
    large commercial vessels due to the ice related
  • Container shipping companies will still prefer
    the longer Suez canal route due to the existing
    infrastructure (ports etc) and the difficulties
    of replicating them in the Arctic

Our Opinion
  • At present the potential ice risks will make
    commercial shipping use of the Arctic too
    dangerous (we dont want another Titanic!!)
  • The environmental risks of shipping are too great
    to make use of the Arctic for shipping on a
    regular basis
  • We need to protect rare species of wildlife such
  • Polar bears
  • Walruses
  • Exploitation of oil and gas reserves will lead to
    much environmental degradation

Our Opinion.
  • Use of the Arctic could create lots of
    geo-political conflict over the use of resources
  • However, it does seem inevitable that the Arctic
    ocean will become increasingly used as global
    warming results in less sea-ice.
  • Therefore it MUST be controlled by a global
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