Globalization, climate change, and geopolitics converge in this already challenging region.
The maritime Arctic continues to experience a steady pace of development and expansion of marine operations. During the past year, a record number of vessels transited the Northwest Passage, and several milestone operations occurred in the Russian Arctic. Affecting all commercial and naval operations, and of particular importance to planners of future ventures, is the recent observed decline of the Arctic Ocean's sea-ice cover, as well as its year-to-year variability. While this historic retreat and climate-change impacts on the Arctic received global attention, the realities of the region's natural-resource development and greater commercial use have gained higher profiles in political discussions.