From the National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder (September 17, 2009):
Arctic sea ice reaches annual minimum extent
Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its minimum extent for the year, the third-lowest extent since the start of satellite measurements in 1979. While this year's minimum extent is above the record and near-record minimums of the last two years, it further reinforces the strong negative trend in summertime ice extent observed over the past thirty years.
[Note the amount of sea ice remaining the archepelago. Even in the best of years that ice remains a challenge for any vessel transitting the Northwest Passage. -RR]
For the complete story click here: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2009/091709.html