Tropical waters in the Northern Hemisphere have been heating up at a dramatic rate, about 1 degree Fahrenheit per decade since 1984, contributing to the unprecedented bleaching of coral reefs over the past 10 years, according to an analysis released last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA scientists had no explanation for the temperature increases, though global warming is a possible contributing factor. Meanwhile, global warming is certainly contributing to the shrinking of the ice cap in the Arctic. And with less ice to navigate around — some scientists predict that by the middle of this century the ice cap could vanish every summer — shipping companies are looking at ways to make the Northwest Passage into the Panama Canal of the North. Canada fears that the extremely fragile environment of the Arctic could be devastated by the shipping traffic, but it is battling the U.S. and European governments over who gets to regulate the traffic.