(Bob Freeman/Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, NNS110816-17, 16 August 2011) -- WASHINGTON - The Navy released an Arctic environmental assessment and outlook Aug. 15 that will be instrumental in developing future strategic plans and investments in a region that is becoming increasingly accessible to exploration and commercial enterprise. "In the past the Arctic was largely inaccessible, but increased seasonal melting of the sea ice is opening the region and creating opportunities for oil and gas exploration, maritime shipping, commercial fishing, and tourism," said Rear Adm. David Titley, director of the Navy's Task Force Climate Change. According to the assessment, the Arctic region is experiencing "increasing air and water temperatures, loss of volume in ice sheets and glaciers, melting of permafrost, and the poleward migration of ecosystems and fishing stocks from warmer regions." "The geography of the Earth is changing," Titley said, "We are confronted by a new ocean for the first time in 500 years." The assessment notes that the U.S. has close to a thousand miles of Arctic coastline in Alaska and significant coastal waters for resource exploitation.
Posted 9 September 2011; 4:29:42 PM. Permalink