For 19th-century adventurers like Sir John Franklin, navigating a path through the ice-choked Northwest Passage — the Holy Grail of Arctic exploration — was a treacherous and often deadly undertaking. Today, thanks to climate change, traveling through the passage is quickly becoming another exotic option for cruise ship passengers — and an enticing shortcut for cargo ships.
But an increasingly ice-free Arctic means more than just a chance for a new sightseeing adventure: Significantly increased ship traffic is altering the submarine calm of one of the quietest places on Earth. That could have serious implications for marine mammals and fish that rely on sound for group cohesion, socializing, finding mates, navigating, and detecting threats.
Read the rest of the commentary on the Mongabay site.