Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)

Legacy Department

City and Regional Planning

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dunning, Anne E

Committee Member

Sperry , Stephen

Committee Member

Rice , Charles


Global climate change has the potential to alter the environment as well as the ways humans interact with it. Specifically, scientists can quickly imagine the effects of global warming in the ocean environment, but a secondary impact will be how humans adapt to this changed world. Ice clearance will lead to navigable Arctic waterways and more potential polar shipping routes. Increased shipping routes will alter or increase global shipping activity. Existing port activity will increase to meet new economic demands, but much of that activity will be concentrated outside Arctic waters. The changes will also affect the ecosystems of these ports. Consequently, changes to shipping patterns have far-reaching effects beyond the ports themselves.
This project has synthesized material and knowledge from four large and highly researched topics: climate change, current and future Arctic conditions, transoceanic shipping, and marine transportation affects the environment. The objectives of this study were to identify the future shipping volumes to 2045 when polar ice melt will enable seasonal shipping traffic. The study provided a 2045 projection of the future shipping volumes along with an integrated analysis of potential ecological threats of future shipping volumes extrapolated from current maritime impacts. A critical link exists between the impacts of climate change, future shipping volumes, and the environment. The findings conclude that shipping size and volume will increase significantly. The threats to the local ecosystem will increase and large-scale shifts in port preference will have the most challenging obstacles to overcome.



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