How the melting Arctic could spread invasive species far and wide


Grist

After 300 years of fruitless (and sometimes deadly) attempts to find the fabled Northwest Passage, a sea route to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via the Arctic, global warming’s shown up all those hard-man sailors by suddenly making the journey easy. In 2007, higher temperatures had melted enough of that pesky Arctic ice to open the passage up to non-icebreaking vessels for the very first time, and since then the ice has only continued to melt — meaning more and more shippers will be using this efficient trade route.

But what’s good news for shippers is not necessarily good news for the rest of us: More vessels taking the northern course is also projected to spread harmful invasive species.

The Northwest PassageNASAThe Northwest Passage

“What’s happening now is that ships move between oceans by going through the Panama or Suez [canals], but that means ships from higher latitudes have to divert south into…

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