According to scientists, as more and more ships are being routed from their current routes to new ones that use the North East and North West passages, this will continue to increase until the percentage of all global traffic (through the Arctic) will be at two percent by 2030 and five percent by 2050 in comparison to four percent in Suez canal and eight percent in the Panama canal.

Since these routes will provide a distance savings of about 25 to 50 percent, while having implication for fuel and time, researchers say that this increase in shipping will bring about climate change due to the aspect of air pollution that it brings with it, making this much larger than a greenhouse gas problem as engine exhaust particles could increase warming anywhere between 17-78 percent.

This study aptly titled, Arctic Shipping Emissions Inventories and Future Scenarios, has been conducted by James J. Corbett, and has been published in the journal known as Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

According to their findings, researchers say that these ships are using advanced diesel engines which in turn release black carbon which has the potential to accelerate climate change in one of the most sensitive regions in regards to climate change.

These diesel emissions have been classified as “short-lived climate forcers”, and are normally produced due to the incomplete burning of marine fuel. These carbon particles act as “heaters” as they not only absorb sunlight directly from the sun but also when it is reflected from snow and ice.

And hence the reason for this study has been aptly summarized by Corbett, who says, “To understand the value of addressing short-lived climate forcers from shipping, you need to know the impacts of these emissions, the feasibility and availability of technologies that could be put in place to reduce these impacts, and then engage the policy-making community to debate the evidence and agree on a plan.”