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RIAC FORECAST 2019–2024: ARCTIC 2024

Analytical digest
5 April 2019
Climate forecasts for the Arctic suggest that shipping volumes for the Northern Sea Route in the medium term will hardly exceed current values. By 2030 the navigation period is expected to last for up to nine weeks a year with the maximum concentration of ice in water of 10%, and for another five weeks before and after the main navigation period with the concentration of up to 40%. In the «western» Arctic seas (Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea) the navigation conditions are more favorable even now. In other Arctic seas (Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chukchi Sea, Baffin Bay, Greenland Sea) the climatic conditions in the foreseeable future will stay harsh.

The political and military situation in the Arctic will remain stable and predictable. However, some circumstances may hinder international cooperation in the region. First and foremost, these circumstances include the issue of defining the limits of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean and possible entanglement of the Arctic in the arms race.
It must be noted that the issue of the limits of the continental shelf will hardly be settled in the near future because presentations of the coastal states to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf take considerable time to be reviewed.

In any case, international cooperation in the Arctic will have to face a test of strength. Due to the specifics of the current political situation, Russia will attach particular importance to the task of preventing the crisis between Russia and the West from having an adverse effect on the Arctic region.

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