A two-parter from China Dialogue:
In the first of two excerpts from his book How the World Will Change With Global Warming, Trausti Valsson says the retreat of Arctic pack ice will lead to new shipping routes in a spatially altered world.
The activation of the polar areas – especially that of the Arctic – will occur as the global climate continues to get warmer. In the past, extreme cold has led to year-round ice cover and has primarily been the prohibiting factor for limiting the development and presence and a more extended range of biota and human activities.
Global shipping, utilising the shortest distance between continents via the Arctic Ocean, has therefore not been possible despite courageous historical attempts to find a passage. The warming of the Arctic, on the other hand, will mean that the whole northern part of the globe – the site of most of the landmass of Earth – will become open to a different and increasing biota and, eventually, to the development of a system of important central areas for human activities. This will lead to a spatial system of centres that, in many ways, will be different from that of the globe today.
The two basic spatial systems of the globe, the semi-spherical system of the northern hemisphere and today’s middle-latitude ribbon around the globe, will co-exist for a long time to come, but the importance of semi-spherical space will gradually be strengthened at the expense of the central ribbon space. At the same time that it loses some of its uniqueness, the ribbon space will expand to the north. As the North continues to warm, it will, as a result, become spatially stronger. The importance of the South, in contrast, will weaken as, in many areas, it becomes undesirably hot for human activities....MUCH MORE