Moscow: The Arctic is getting warmer at a fast pace with the Russian Arctic sector's ice areas reducing to "historically low levels", the Russian meteorological bureau has said.
The Rosgidromet bureau report said the polar cap in the Russian sector has shrunk to the historical low registered in 2007, with no ice expected to block the Northern Seaway at least until September, Xinhua reported citing the Itar-Tass news agency.
"Currently, Arctic navigation conditions are very favourable. By early August, navigation can be done without icebreakers almost along the entire route," said Valery Martyshchenko, head of the bureau's environment pollution monitoring department.
The Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute said the current ice cover in the Arctic Ocean is 6,860 million square km, which was way below average.
Martyshchenko said the longer period of icebreaker-free navigation would benefit the regions located in the Arctic area, allowing longer access to food and energy supplies.
But the warming of the climate also posed new threats, such as melting of ice and forming of icebergs, he said.
First Published: Sunday, August 07, 2011, 09:26