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We Found the Passage - What Now?
When ships were the only means of long distance travel, a journey from Western Europe to the Orient meant taking a long and dangerous route around either the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, or Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America.
The passage was finally discovered in 1905, but as the sea is frozen over for most of the year, it is not very practical. In 1969 a massive tanker set out to test the route for the shipment of Alaskan crude oil to eastern refineries, but one trip was enough - it took months to repair the battered ship.
However, recent climate changes in the Arctic suggest that there will be a 50% reduction in sea ice within a century, and the Northwest Passage could open up as a practical shipping route within 50 years - about 550 years after the search began, and 150 years after it was first discovered!
Click pictures for more information and credits.
Library: Arctic, Exploration, Boats/Ships/Subs
Links: Arctic, Northwest Passage, Boats & Ships
Maps: Northwest Passage
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports
DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?