The Northwest Passage is one of the most fabled sea routes in the world - a short cut from Europe to Asia through the high Arctic.Whether global warming is due to human activity or just natural cycles, it would seem that the Northwest Passage opening up is a big deal. It seems clear that we going to have to learn to deal with the repercussions of these climate associated changes whether we like it or not. I find it interesting that it is already causing some international debate and disagreement.
Recent years have seen a marked shrinkage in its ice cover, but this year it was extreme, Esa says.
It says this made the passage "fully navigable" for the first time since monitoring began in 1978.
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Scientists have linked the changes to global warming which may be progressing faster than expected.
The opening of the sea routes are already leading to international disputes.And I'm sure there will be more unforeseen circumstances that arise from these global climate changes that will require international attention and negotiation as time goes on.
Canada says it has full rights over those parts of the Northwest Passage that pass though its territory and that it can bar transit there.
But this has been disputed by the US and the European Union.
They argue new route should be an international strait that any vessel can use.