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Search for the North-West Passage
For over 300 years explorers risked their lives to search the Arctic for a North-West Passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific, hoping to establish a lucrative trading route between Europe and Asia.
Although some did find ways through, as a route for commercial shipping the Passage has remained a pipe-dream – until news in 2007 that a summer thaw had opened up the Passage.
Use these pages to find out more about the fabled North-West Passage, its intrepid discoverers and its debatable future.
- Read the incredible stories of the search for the Passage, often dogged by disaster or controversy.
- Read one expert perspective on how past explorers' reputations might be revived by the opening of the Passage.
- Sea ice goes through an annual cycle of melting and freezing. But why has the ice been melting so quickly recently?
- Links to other resources about the Arctic – exploration, climate change and disputed ownership.