Global warming or start of mini-ice age? Ice delays barges for Western Arctic communities

By on September 6, 2013
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Ice buildup in the Amundsen Gulf is responsible for barge delays that have many Northern coastal communities running short on supplies.

Normally, a supply barge arrives in the area in early summer to replenish stocks of fuel and other necessities in those communities. But this year, that trip is being held up by ice. As much as 30 to 40 per cent of the Arctic Ocean remains covered in ice.

“We have not seen ice with this type of coverage in quite a few years and I really don’t know how far back we might’ve seen it,” says Bill Smith, a spokesman with Northern Transportation Company Ltd., which services the communities.

“It’s the opposite of what we’ve been seeing for the last few years where, generally, ice conditions have been improving from a transportation perspective.”

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