In a new paper published to high impact journal Global Environmental Change, GEOG researchers Dr. Kuishuang Feng, Dr. Shunlin Liang, Dr. Laixiang Sun, and Dr. Dongdong Wang, and Former GEOG visiting scholar Dr. Yunfeng Cao found that trans-Arctic shipping routes are becoming increasingly navigable at a faster rate than previously projected. 

The findings come at a critical moment, as the shipping industry moves to commercialize trans-Arctic routes. Trans-Arctic routes are shorter than traditional shipping routes, and as sea ice retreat makes trans-Arctic routes more feasible, they become increasingly attractive to stakeholders in the shipping industry. The paper argues, however, that any economic benefits of trans-Arctic shipping may be outweighed by costly environmental and safety hazards and urges for more aggressive action on the development of environmental regulations for Arctic shipping activity.

Read the full paper

Figure from the paper showing change in navigation risk of trans-Arctic routes over time.