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Earth’s shipping lanes and network of roads map
click map to view the larger image at Science magazine

Fig. 2. Earth’s shipping lanes and network of roads. Each shipping lane data point represents the location where an expendable probe was dropped for sampling of ocean temperature from 14 October 2004 to 15 October 2005. Shipping lanes map created from data downloaded at www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/trinanes/BBXX from the SEAS BBXX database of the Global Ocean Observing System Center from the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The road network is a 1:1 million scale representation of the paved and unpaved roads of the world. Map created from Environmental Systems Research Institute’s (ESRI) Digital Chart of the World (DCW) global vectors, created in 1992.

The Atlantic shipping lanes are more concentrated (dense) but the north Pacific lanes are fascinating for how much comes to Alaskan waters. There’s an awful lot that comes to Anchorage and Unalaska / Kodiak. It’s also amazing that our Unorganized Roads (the disconnected roads) show up. The eastern 1/3 of the state of Alaska is “roaded” even though there are just two roads in or out. The Beaufort and Chukchi seas are marked also. Our staples and fuel are mapped (north of the Aleutian chain). I wonder if our ice road is included?

It would be neat if someone could overlay the historical lanes, for example, the Natchez Trace, Silk Road, salt caravans, Ghanaian gold trade, the founding canoes of Aotearoa, etc. Many of the historic routes will be the same as today’s. However, if the ocean currents shift with climate change, how might the routes change? Already, Canada and Russia are planning for a genuine “Northwest” Passage (Arctic Ocean transportation hubs). Will our western Alaska routes change, such that European-Asian traffic will come past us? How will a change in transportation affect patterns of infectious disease?

Check out the NOAA map! It’s “real time” (Java applet) of shipping in our area (where is that kitty litter, Pilot Bread, winter fuel? and )

[check out the real time ice map in boreal summer to see where the shipping lanes and the Northwest Passage through the Arctic might be shortly / is — Where is… Bethel ice pack]

See 2010-02,Shipping map tracks marine aliens * 13 January 2010 by Linda Geddes

Related post, Where is… air transport hub of the world

Domesticated Nature: Shaping Landscapes and Ecosystems for Human Welfare
Peter Kareiva, Sean Watts, Robert McDonald, Tim Boucher

Science 29 June 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5833, pp. 1866 – 1869, DOI: 10.1126/science.1140170

Like all species, humans have exercised their impulse to perpetuate and propagate themselves. In doing so, we have domesticated landscapes and ecosystems in ways that enhance our food supplies, reduce exposure to predators and natural dangers, and promote commerce. On average, the net benefits to humankind of domesticated nature have been positive. We have, of course, made mistakes, causing unforeseen changes in ecosystem attributes, while leaving few, if any, truly wild places on Earth. Going into the future, scientists can help humanity to domesticate nature more wisely by quantifying the tradeoffs among ecosystem services, such as how increasing the provision of one service may decrease ecosystem resilience and the provision of other services.

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