Others may go to war with each other. Forget about global warming—man-made or natural—what drives planetary weather patterns is the climate and what drives the climate is the sun's magnetosphere and its electromagnetic interaction with a planet's own magnetic field. When the field shifts, when it fluctuates, when it goes into flux and begins to become unstable anything can happen.
Or three, if you count the aging vessel in a Seattle drydock being cannibalized for parts. Dan Sullivan of Alaska. Russia held massive military exercises in the Arctic earlier this year, and both countries have national Arctic strategies that identify icebreakers as key to their ambitions, according to Victoria Herrmann, the U.
But Russia is far better prepared: It might seem that a warming Arctic would require less icebreaking, not more. But as northern waters become more accessible, far more ship traffic will be at risk, and their shifting climate conditions make it more likely seas will freeze unpredictably.
Paul Zukunft called for more icebreakers; in late July, Sen.
John Richardson about icebreakers during his confirmation hearing. Icebreakers are operated by the Coast Guard, but their cost falls way outside the reach of its budget.
Though icebreakers are crucial for defense, Arctic drilling, and research, they have an important role in civilian life too. In Decemberthe people of the remote and icebound city of Nome, Alaska, were running short on heating fuel.
The water in the Norton Sound froze solid, blocking an emergency delivery by a Russian tanker. Coast Guard scrambled to reroute its nearest icebreaker: The Healy turned around and slowly broke open a path for the tanker, which reached Nome in January. If the Healy had also gotten stuck or broken down, the Coast Guard had no plan B.
Its two other icebreakers were out of commission, one retired and one in drydock with a catastrophic engine failure — and the citizens of Nome would have been trapped. The agency determined the Coast Guard needs three heavy icebreakers — capable of breaking through up to 21 feet of ice — and three medium icebreakers, which can tackle eight feet of ice, in order to meet U.
Today, it has one heavy and one light. The ships require thick steel, reinforced hulls and enormous horsepower to ram through ice.
Icebreakers also have special onboard tanks and pumps that shift water from one side of the boat, rocking it to break the surrounding ice. Some would like to see the other beneficiaries of icebreakers, like the Navy or the National Science Foundation, help to fund them.
The Healy, Papp noted, was paid for using entirely Navy funding.
Zukunft said in order to get funding for icebreakers outside of the Coast Guard budget, the vessels would need to be seen as national assets—in the same light as aircraft carriers and nuclear ballistic submarines.
Current law requires Coast Guard vessels to be constructed in U.
One privately owned icebreaker, leased to Shell, was built by a pair of domestic shipbuilders. He estimated that building a new vessel stateside would take at least 10 years, and crafting a design alone could take several years.
Canada, for example, has a design for a heavy icebreaker and the U. Sullivan said he co-sponsored an amendment with Sen. Within the Homeland Security spending bill for fiscalSen.
Murkowski added that Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby has called for new icebreakers in a recent appropriations hearing. Beneath all the wrangling over money and logistics, the debate over icebreakers gets at the bigger question of how America sees itself.
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