Arctic Sea Ice - Map of 2010 from NASA
We want to thank NASA's Earth Observatory for sharing with us its map of the extent of Arctic Sea ice shrinkage in 2010. This is an example of a picture being worth a thousand words.
In 2010, our icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov sailed to Tanquary Fjord and to Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Both locations were icebound even at the height of the summer shrinkage. You can see it on the map. With the exception of one visible spot, the Northwest Passage was ice free as was most of the Northeast Passage. The exceptions were the archipelago of Severnaya Zemlya and portions of Franz Josef Land.
There is a Russian proverb that if the ice is not in Russia it is in Canada. This illustrates the point. If the winds and drift change next year, the ice could be in the Northeast or Northwest Passage. Being free of ice one year does not guarantee an ice free passage the next.