NASA’s Earth Observatory released some images earlier today that make a dramatic point.

Here was the ice cap on Sept. 14, 1984.

Here it was two weeks ago — near (but not at) the all-time low.

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If you’re more of a tactile type, the Earth Observatory website has a cool tool that lets you slide between the two images. Easy come, easy go.

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On a related note, the first Chinese icebreaker to traverse the Northwest Passage made it back home on the same route. China is ready to compete for those newly, increasingly accessible Arctic resources.

We look at the melting ice cap and see the harsh impacts of global warming. Others — more powerful, wealthier others — see opportunity.