VICTORIA STRAIT, Nunavut (AP) ― Global warming is opening up the fabled Northwest Passage, a route through Arctic waters that’s closed to ships for most of the year.
The Associated Press traveled through the passage on a Finnish icebreaker that achieved the earliest recorded transit from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans.
Together with Arctic researchers, the AP team documented the impact climate change is having on the environment, communities and animals that live in this remote corner of the world.
The changes are indicative of the effects of rising temperatures on the Arctic as a whole. Scientists predict that a warming Arctic will affect lower latitudes, because of the role it plays for global weather.
The frozen north plays a crucial role in cooling the rest of the planet while reflecting some of the sun’s heat back into space. Last year was the hottest on record in the Arctic.
“Things are changing in the Arctic, and that is changing things everywhere else,” David ‘Duke’ Snider, the seasoned mariner responsible for navigating the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica, said.