As I wrote in my recent blog post Northern Passage 2010 the main obstacle that is keeping the Northern Sea Route closed is the narrow band of ice off the north-east coast of Taymyr Peninsula. It looks like a big low pressure area has started shifting that ice northwards:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Northern Sea Route seems about to open up. Timing couldn't be better for Norwegian adventurers Thorleif Thorleifsson and Børge Ousland.
Update: confirmation from the ground by Ousland and Thorleifsson...
We observe that the ice is drifting slowly northward, and Nick confirms this. In a day or two, this may well open an opportunity for us to once again chart a more easterly course across the Laptev Sea. That remains to be seen, of course, and we are eager to see what tomorrow brings.