Arctic Ocean Map and Bathymetric Chart

23 September 2007 | 05:55 Code : 15336 Geoscience events
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Within the last few years a significant amount of interest has developed in the Arctic....

  Within the last few years a significant amount of interest has developed in the Arctic Ocean and its features. Three factors are important in driving this new level of interest in the Arctic. First, an enormous amount of oil, natural gas and other resources are thought to be held within the Arctic Ocean's floor. Perhaps 25% of the world's remaining oil and natural gas resource might be held within the floor of the Chukchi Cap alone. Second, global warming is starting to reduce the extent and thickness of the Arctic's sea ice. If the current trend continues, the Northwest Passage might be open to standard ships during summer within the next couple of decades and the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by midway through the current century. Third, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea allows nations to extend their coastal economic zone beyond 350 nautical miles - if they can acquire scientific data that demonstrates that additional areas are a natural extension of their continent. Many nations are fielding scientific missions in hopes of extending their Arctic opportunities

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