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GLOBAL warming in the Arctic has opened shipping channels through the Northwest Passage and Northern Sea Route over Russia, but a study reveals that accompanying fog has likely removed the benefits of these short cuts, reports the UK's Guardian.

Xianyao Chen from the Ocean University of China and colleagues plugged historical fog data into climate models to assess how much the fogginess along the Northwest Passage (through the Canadian archipelago) and the Northern Sea Route (along the Russian Arctic coast) is likely to increase.

Their findings, published in Geophysical Research Letters, show that fog is already slowing shipping, and by 2100 increased fogginess could add three days to the Northwest Passage route if the termperure rises 3C degrees. Furthermore, the reduced visibility increases the risk of collision.

The results suggest that many of the current projections for Arctic shipping routes could be too optimistic in terms of the amount of time and money they can save, but adjusting shipping routes away from the sea ice edge where the worst fog occurs could lower risks and save time.

Source : Schednet