Northwest Passage Voyage Spotlights Climate
Northwest Passage Voyage Spotlights Climate, Researchers are looking for lost explorers’ ships in a nine-metre fibreglass sailboat. Northwest Passage voyage shows climate change impact on Arctic, I have mixed feelings about news a sailboat named Belzebub II has managed to make its way safely through the northernmost route of the Northwest Passage.
On one hand, the voyage by Canadian Nicolas Peissel, Swede Edvin Buregren and American Morgan Peissel, is a tremendous feat of seamanship.
On the other hand, the fact they could do it in a nine-metre-long, 35-year-old fibreglass sailboat underscores the effect of climate change on the Arctic.
That was one of the expedition’s objectives, CTV News reports. The three-month westward voyage through M’Clure Strait into the Beaufort Sea was intended to expose the extent of the melting polar ice caps.
The crew shot video and photographs to show the reduction in Arctic ice, which scientists say appears to be melting much faster than forecasted.
The National Snow and Ice Data Centre reported Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low of 4.09 million square kilometres this summer and is likely to melt more in the next few weeks, CTV News said. The previous record low was 4.17 million square kilometres in 2007.
Peissel told the National Post that until the Belzebub II made the trip, only a Russian icebreaker had completed the Northwest Passage trek through M’Clure Strait.
“The reduction of sea ice here made it possible for us to do a voyage that for hundreds of years blocked explorers,” he said. “And we’ve managed to do this in a 30-foot-fibreglass boat with no ice reinforcements.
“To be the first sailboat to ever accomplish this route is quite telling of the environmental change taking place up here.”
Despite the relative lack of ice, Peissel said it definitely wasn’t a holiday cruise.