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Proposal assignment - Essay Example

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Contents Introduction 2 Statement of the Problem 5 Research Questions 5 Hypothesis 5 Objectives 6 Audience 6 Solutions 6 Call for Action 7 Introduction Climate change has brought global focus on arctic. The ice in the arctic is melting. If the present trend continues, Arctic Ocean would be ice-free by 2050…
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Download file to see previous pages The Arctic Ocean is covered with ice and is surrounded by treeless permafrost. The sea ice in the arctic has declined very much in recent years. ` The recording of extent of ice in arctic began in 1953. Since then, the extent of the summer sea ice has been declining. The extent of ice was the lowest in 2007, the second lowest in 2008, and the third lowest in 2010. Currently, the snow cover in the Arctic is present for about 200 days per year. A decrease in the duration of the snow season results in increased warming. Between 1970 and 2000, there was a decrease in duration of the snow season by approximately 2.5 days per decade. From the commercial point of view, it is a new opportunity as exploration of the arctic has become easy now. Estimates show that Arctic can contain about 20 per cent of world's reserves of hydrocarbons. Most of these resources happen to be in the Russian part of the arctic. New trade routes linking the Atlantic and the Pacific via arctic instead of Panama Canal has become a possibility now. So, there began a geopolitical competition in the region to gain control over transport routes and natural resources. All these have increased the strategic importance of arctic region. Countries bordering arctic are also in the process of preparing territorial claims for submission to the Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf. Russia claims a large portion of arctic. The Arctic is highly vulnerable to the effects of global warming. There is greater warming in the Arctic than global average. Because of this, there are concerns that the melting of ice in Arctic could result in rise in sea levels. The current Arctic ice melt might also lead to Arctic methane release. Large amount of methane is stored in the permafrost. Methane is a greenhouse gas and is more dangerous than carbon dioxide. Scientists are not sure whether this is natural cycle or manmade. Apart from concerns regarding the negative impact of warming in the Arctic, some potential opportunities have come up. Since the middle ages, world’s maritime powers looked for a shorter route between Atlantic and Asia. The melting of ice opens up the possibility of two trans arctic routes- The Northern Sea route and the Northwest passage. The new routes will reduce distances between Europe and Asia. It will also provide strategic alternatives to other countries such as Japan. At present Japan is dependent on the Strait of Malacca for transporting energy. The Northern Sea route (North East Passage) is along Russia’s northern border from Murmansk to Provideniya. It is about 2600 nautical miles in length. The Northern Sea Route, the shortest shipping lane from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, links European Russia with Russia’s Far East. The Northern Sea Route over Eurasia is important since it shortens shipping routes between northern Europe and north-east Asia by 40 per cent .The Northwest Passage is through Canadian arctic islands. It consists of several potential routes. The US Geological Survey report of 2008 says that the extensive arctic continental shelf may constitute the geographically largest unexplored prospective area for petroleum remaining on earth. It estimates 90 billion barrels of oil and 1700trillion cubic feet of natural gas remain to be discovered. Such reports have led to recent international debates as to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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