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First Arctic Navigation in February Sends a Worrying Climate Signal

Melting ice in the Arctic allowed a gas tanker to sail through the Northern Sea Route in the middle of winter 

The Christophe de Margerie 

The Christophe de Margerie 

Photographer: Alexander Ryumin/TASS/Getty Images

A tanker sailed through Arctic sea ice in February for the first time, the latest sign of how quickly the pace of climate change is accelerating in the Earth’s northernmost regions.

The Christophe de Margerie was accompanied by the nuclear-powered 50 Let Pobedy icebreaker as it sailed back to Russia this month after carrying liquified natural gas to China through the Northern Sea Route in January. Both trips broke navigation records