It is considered the final frontier for oil and gas exploitation, and secret US embassy cables published by WikiLeaks confirm that nations are battling to "carve up" the Arctic's vast resources.
"The twenty-first century will see a fight for resources," Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin was quoted as saying in a 2010 cable. "Russia should not be defeated in this fight."
Along with exposing an estimated 22 per cent of the world's oil, ice melting due to global warming will open new shipping lanes, the arteries of global commerce, which nations are competing to control. And Russia certainly is not the only country eyeing the frozen prize.