Setting a record of dubious distinction, MSV Nordica, a Finnish icebreaker, glided through the 900-mile Northwest Passage at the earliest date in history, according to the Associated Press. Once a perilous journey, the Northwest Passage has become passable at an earlier date each summer, and for a longer period thanks to warming resulting from climate change.
Quick Facts about the Northwest Passage and the Journey of the MSV Nordica
- The Northwest Passage connects, and provides a shortcut between, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
- Thick and widespread ice historically prevented ships from using this shortcut.
- According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), quests to cross the
- Northwest Passage began during the mid-to-late 15th Century, when English explorers searched for an oceanic shortcut to reach the treasures of the Orient. Their motivation was avoid Spanish-controlled waters in the aftermath of the Spanish/Portugese Treaty of the Tordesillas, which divided the lands discovered by Christopher Columbus.
- In 1845, British explorer John Franklin led one such expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Trapped by the sea ice, Franklin and his crew perished at sea after last being sighted off Baffin Island on July 26, 1845. Their two ships were found only a few years ago.
- The Finnish icebreaker traveled over 24 days to complete the crossing.
- The opening of the Passage provides one of the most compelling and visible effects of climate change.
For more details about the record-breaking journey by the MSV Nordica, visit the links below:
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