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Icebergs growing threat to Arctic navigation, oil exploration — climate expert

November 24, 2014, 17:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Arctic ice territory had shrunk fourfold since 1980, but mass migration of ice blocks became a major problem, Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Geography head says
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Metelitsa

MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. Icebergs melting as a result of global climate change are a growing menace to Arctic navigation and oil industry development, Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Geography head Vladimir Kotlyakov told a TASS-hosted media briefing on Monday.

Arctic ice territory had shrunk fourfold since 1980, he said. Ice-free waters brought opportunities for navigation but required considerable new effort since mass migration of ice blocks had become commonplace. Drifts might block straits east of the Kara Sea, he added. Wind force strengthening under air temperatures close to zero brought problems through ice formation on vessel superstructure, the speaker warned.

Thousands of icebergs had been monitored over seven years in the Kara Sea, where Rosneft company engineers were developing a first oil well, and in the Barents Sea and Spitzbergen and Franz-Joseph Land archipelagos.

Management of permanent iceberg monitoring, splitting icebergs and moving them to safe distances were tasks of stratetgic importance under new climatic conditions, Kotlyakov added.

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