by Staff Writers
Greenbelt, Md. (UPI) Aug 9, 2012
Rapidly melting sea ice has led to the opening of the arctic's Northwest Passage, images taken by NASA's Terra satellite confirm.
While an image captured July 17 showed ice filling the Parry Channel, part of the Passage, a photo taken Aug. 3 showed most of that ice had melted away, OurAmazingPlanet.com reported Thursday.
Ice cover in Parry Channel began to fall below the 30-year median level in mid-July, the Canadian Ice Service reported, and the melting accelerated in the following two weeks.
NASA, in a release, said that while the Parry Channel appears almost entirely free of ice it's not necessarily open for ships to pass through since sea ice too thin to be detected by satellite sensors can still be sufficiently thick to thwart the successful passage of ships.
Centuries of attempts to find a shortcut between Europe and Asia though the arctic failed due to heavy ice until 1906, when Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen successfully navigated the Northwest Passage.
Beyond the Ice Age
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Russian icebreaker sets out for expedition
Murmansk, Russia (UPI) Aug 4, 2012
A Russian icebreaker vessel set out on a two-month expedition to the Arctic Ocean to study an icy ridge, officials said. The diesel-electric icebreaker Kapitan Darnitsyn left the port of Murmansk Friday night for the expedition, RIA Novosti reported Saturday. The vessel is first heading to Kirkenes, Norway, to meet up with the Russian diesel ice-breaker Dikson. The two icebreaker ... read more
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