Global warming affects some unexpected entities, and one is the US Coast Guard, which is dealing with increased maritime traffic above the Arctic Circle. As retreating ice exposes more coastline, officials are evaluating future needs, the Military Times reports. Says the commander of the district that includes Alaska, "Until I go there, feel it, touch it, smell it, I won’t be able to responsibly ask for more resources."
"People hear all this and say, ‘Oh, Brooks, you just want another icebreaker,’" says Arthur Brooks, "but it’s much larger than that." For example, cruise ships headed for the Northwest Passage are currently out of reach of rescue. To understand the challenges emerging from the ice, the Coast Guard is planning numerous exploratory expeditions for this summer.