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Arctic shipping could push climate change

Newark, Del. -- Increased marine shipping through warming arctic waters could accelerate climate change in the world's northern regions, U.S. and Canadian researchers say.

Scientists say as ice retreats and new shipping lanes open up, ship traffic at the top of the world will increase and with it will come increased air pollution from ship exhaust and other sources, reported Tuesday.

"One of the most potent 'short-lived climate forcers' in diesel emissions is black carbon, or soot," says James J. Corbett, professor of marine science and policy at the University of Delaware.

"Ships operating in or near the arctic use advanced diesel engines that release black carbon into one of the most sensitive regions for climate change," he says.

Ship traffic moving from current routes to new passages through the arctic could reach 5 percent of global traffic by 2050, researchers say, and soot from ship exhaust could increase warming by 17 to 18 percent, they predict.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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