Thursday, February 09, 2006
Recently, Maya was working on a report about the California Missions for school, and we were reading about how the early explorers of 'Alta California' were looking for a passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic, which would be VERY valuable to them in getting wealth from the area back to Spain. They never found a route, though, and instead colonized California.
Cut to the modern day: We have found a passage, through the Artic Ocean, called the Northwest Passage. It is seldom used because it is frozen over for much of the year, and the route is exteremly hazardous. One consequence of global warming appears to be that in as little as 10 years, the Northwest Passage could be free enough from ice in the summer to become a viable route between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Ships can save about 4,000 km between Europe and Asia by using the Northwest Passage. So, does this mean we will be having disputes with Canada over these waters? The new Prime Minister of Canada is reasserting the Canadian claim to the area, while the U.S. claims that these are International Waters.
So, could war break out between the U.S. and Canada? Will they join the 'Axis of Evil'? Nah, I don't think so either. But it's kind of scary to think of global warming melting so much ice, and what that will mean to Earth's climate (not to mention the Polar Bears).