ScienceDaily (Sep. 16, 2007) — The area covered by sea ice in the Arctic has now (September 14, 2007) shrunk to its lowest level since satellite measurements began nearly 30 years ago, opening up the Northwest Passage – a long-sought short cut between Europe and Asia that has been historically impassable.
ScienceDaily (Oct. 4, 2008) — After reaching the second-lowest extent ever recorded last month, sea ice in the Arctic has begun to refreeze in the face of autumn temperatures, closing both the Northern Sea Route and the direct route through the Northwest Passage.)
This year marked the first time since satellite measurements began in the 1970s that the Northern Sea Route, also known as the Northeast Passage, and the Northwest Passage were both open at the same time for a few weeks.)
ScienceDaily (Sep. 16, 2010) — The Arctic sea ice cover appears to have reached its minimum extent for the year, the third-lowest recorded since satellites began measuring sea ice extent in 1979, according to the University of Colorado at Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center. On Sept. 10 the sea ice extent dropped to 1.84 million square miles, or 4.76 million square kilometers, and is likely the lowest ice extent of the year as sea ice appears to have begun its annual cycle of growth.)
NASA's Aqua satellite captured a snapshot on Sept. 3.