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Author Topic: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times  (Read 8189 times)

Paddy

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Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« on: July 06, 2015, 05:11:06 PM »
Medvedev's planning to increase the capacity of the Northern Sea Route by 20 times over the next 15 years, from the current 4 million tons to 80 million tons, alongside planning other developments in the region.  The heat released from, turbulence caused by, and direct mechanical damage to ice from cargo ships passing through in this way are doubtless all tiny things compared to the major inputs for sea ice melting, but this is probably not good news for arctic sea ice, all the same.

Nightvid Cole

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2015, 05:18:48 PM »
Medvedev's planning to increase the capacity of the Northern Sea Route by 20 times over the next 15 years, from the current 4 million tons to 80 million tons, alongside planning other developments in the region.  The heat released from, turbulence caused by, and direct mechanical damage to ice from cargo ships passing through in this way are doubtless all tiny things compared to the major inputs for sea ice melting, but this is probably not good news for arctic sea ice, all the same.

My concern would be over soot emissions causing an increased "dark snow" effect in the Arctic.

Paddy

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2015, 06:48:01 PM »
Yep, that would be a fourth factor.  Not sure how sooty these vessels are - most run on heavy diesel though, so they must produce some soot.  The nuclear ice breakers the Russians use would largely just produce hot water, however.

ChrisReynolds

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2015, 08:54:46 PM »
I'm pretty sure that were one to do the calulations one scrub/tundra/forest fire would release far more particulates that a convoy of ships.

Rick Aster

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2015, 09:55:00 PM »
The one protective effect of Arctic shipping routes is that they reduce fuel consumption for shipping when ships can travel a shorter distance. Smaller fuel consumption means smaller carbon emissions. On the other hand, it seems like fossil fuels are the biggest category of trans-Arctic cargo so far, and if expanded Arctic shipping means it's easier to deliver more fossil fuels, then maybe it's not such a good thing for the future of the Arctic.

Paddy

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2015, 12:24:02 PM »
Apparently, uptake of the Northern Sea Route has been slower than anticipated recently, due to the drop in oil prices and high insurance costs for what's seen as a dangerous route.  Russia is upgrading their coastguard in the area, however, which may bring these costs down and make it more competitive.

ghoti

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2015, 03:06:18 PM »
Is the uptake of the route through Russia also being affected by the sanctions against Russia? It would seem to me that making it difficult to do business with Russia would make the logistics of the Northeast route more problematic.

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2015, 06:26:49 PM »
Apparently, uptake of the Northern Sea Route has been slower than anticipated recently, due to the drop in oil prices and high insurance costs for what's seen as a dangerous route.

You don't believe every(any)thing you read in the WSJ do you?!

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/jul/13/wall-st-journal-murdoch-bancroft

How about the Grauniad?
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ghoti

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2015, 08:35:09 PM »
Actually the WSJ was a horrible right wing rag before the sale. They have a long record of anti-environmental reporting. The usual stuff of course - Ozone depletion isn't happening/ removing CFCs will bankrupt us, acid rain isn't happening / implementing pollution controls will bankrupt us, car emissions aren't a problem / vehicle pollution controls will bankrupt us, etc. etc. etc. The climate change coverage is the same old same old.

Oh and of course financial system complete deregulation will make the whole world amazingly wealthy.

Paddy

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2015, 11:54:02 AM »
Drat, I managed to copy completely the wrong article URL.  Apologies for said accidental linkage to a Murdoch publication.

I actually meant to link to this article from the Moscow Times.

One of the relevant sections:

Quote
Although the NSR has been hyped up by the Russian government, it has not yet become the commercial success envisioned in 2013, when Russia created a special administrative entity, the Northern Sea Route Authority, to manage commercial shipping applications for passage.



Last year, only 41 ships passed through the NSR, with the vast majority of them registered as Russian vessels. This was a sharp downturn from 2013, when 71 vessels made the trip, and even then the majority of ships were Russian.



EDIT: One odd thing about the numbers presented in that article is that they seem to be contradicted by the official transit stats, which show 53 transits being made using the route in 2014 (and 71 in 2013).  This may be explained by confusion over some ships making the journey more than once, but that applied to the total transit stats for both years.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 11:59:56 AM by Paddy »

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2015, 01:33:59 PM »
I actually meant to link to this article from the Moscow Times

See also this article, and the Barents Observer link in the comments:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2015/01/is-the-economist-being-economical-with-the-truth-about-arctic-sea-ice/
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Neven

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2016, 12:24:11 AM »
Quote
Is Northern Sea Route Shipping in a Deep Freeze?

HIGH NORTH NEWS: As the cost of shipping fuel has dropped, operators have been less interested in taking Arctic shortcuts. Shipping traffic along Russia's Northern Sea Route is in decline. Will it bounce back?

BODO, Norway – Economic factors, such as reduced bunker fuel prices and slowing demand for commodities, are the primary reasons for reduced shipping traffic along Russia’s Northern Sea Route, according to research presented by Arctic shipping experts at Bodo’s High North Dialogue conference. Higher amounts of summer sea ice during 2014 and 2015, on the other hand, play only a minor role. What does this mean for the future prospects of Arctic shipping?

Read the rest here.
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Shared Humanity

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2016, 03:51:04 PM »
There is also the risk factor of taking the Northern Sea route. Risk can be difficult to quantify and I believe Arctic transport will lag behind expectations until routes become very ice free and much larger. And what of storms in seas that still have a lot of ice moving about? It seems we are seeing an increase of cyclones as more energy, moisture and open seas occur. This has got to hamper transport.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2016, 02:26:18 PM by Shared Humanity »

skanky

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2016, 10:34:05 PM »
Not 100% sure this is the right thread, but it seemed close enough:

Quote
Shipping routes across the Arctic are going to open up significantly this century even with a best-case reduction in CO2 emissions, a new study suggests.
University of Reading, UK, researchers have investigated how the decline in sea-ice, driven by warmer temperatures, will make the region more accessible.
They find that by 2050, opportunities to transit the Arctic will double for non ice-strengthened vessels.
These open-water ships will even be going right over the top at times.

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37286750

Abstract:
Quote
The observed decline in Arctic sea ice is projected to continue, opening shorter trade routes across the Arctic Ocean, with potentially global economic implications. Here we quantify, using CMIP5 global climate model simulations calibrated to remove spatial biases, how projected sea ice loss might increase opportunities for Arctic-transit shipping. By mid-century for standard Open Water vessels, the frequency of navigable periods doubles, with routes across the central Arctic becoming available. A sea ice – ship speed relationship is used to show that European routes to Asia typically become 10 days faster via the Arctic than alternatives by mid-century, and 13 days faster by late-century, while North American routes become 4 days faster. Future greenhouse-gas emissions have a larger impact by late-century; the shipping season reaching 4-8 months in RCP8.5, double that of RCP2.6, both with substantial inter-annual variability. Moderately ice-strengthened vessels likely enable Arctic transits for 10-12 months by late-century.

Paper here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GL069315/abstract;jsessionid=9081A604A661F8DA0DF0B9DE5E3CD1C0.f03t02

There might be a blog post appear at Climate Lab Book at some point, seeing as Ed Hawkins is an author: http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2016, 11:52:37 PM »
There's a post at Carbon Brief by the lead author, Nat Melia:

https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-what-will-sea-ice-loss-mean-for-arctic-shipping
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idunno

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Re: Northern sea route traffic planned to increase by 20 times
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2016, 07:13:08 AM »
The FT weekend magazine, Oct 22/23, had a very interesting article, from a journalist who spent several months on container ships on the NSR, and conducted many interviews in and around Tiksi.

I hadn't realised that the NSR was actually much more used, and the Russian Arctic much more populated, under the USSR. It was prioritised by the Soviets as a military/ideological imperative. Tiksi harbour is filled with dozens of semi-sunk rusting hulks of Soviet-era luggers.

Tiksi also has a dwindling human population, many of whose parents arrived as prisoners or military personnel, and who are trapped in place by rising property prices elsewhere in the Russian state, or by their ancestral homes now being located in states which separated from Russia, such as Moldova, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Latvia, etc...

Interesting from several points of view...

1. There is now much less navigation of the NSR than there was from approx 1938-1991; and the season is now 3 months, rather than year-round. This should serve as a positive, ice-saving feedback; but it clearly is totally overwhelmed by global warming.

2. Russia has a lot of the infrastructure necessary to reopen the route to commercial shipping - docks, etc, but it is all in a state of catastrophic disrepair.

3. The current regime is now propagandising the recolonisation of the North; only the low price of oil is holding them back. It is now becoming a tenet of Russian patriotism, as it was during the era of Josef S, that the North must be re-conquered.

No apologies for not using the surnames of the politicians involved. Usage of Mr P's name seems to attract bots like excrement attracts coprophagic insects.

I am sorry for not providing a link, but the FT is paywalled, and I just stumbled over a hard copy of the mag, being thrown away.