The Northwest Passage is a sea route connecting the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The various islands of the archipelago are separated from one another and from the Canadian mainland by a series of Arctic waterways collectively known as the Northwest Passages or Northwestern Passages.
Scientists at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union on December 13, 2007, revealed that NASA satellites observing the western Arctic showed a 16% decrease in cloud coverage during the summer of 2007 compared to 2006. This would have the effect of allowing more sunlight to penetrate Earth’s atmosphere and warm the Arctic Ocean waters, thus melting sea ice and contributing to the opening the Northwest Passage.
In January 2010, the ongoing reduction in the Arctic sea ice led telecoms cable specialist Kodiak-Kenai Cable to propose the laying of a fiberoptic cable connecting London and Tokyo, by way of the Northwest Passage, saying the proposed system would nearly cut in half the time it takes to send messages from the United Kingdom to Japan. In September 2013 the first large ice strengthened sea freighter, MS Nordic Orion, used the passage. In 2016 a new record were set when the cruise ship Crystal Serenity transited with 1,700 passengers.