Political map of the Arctic & the Far North 12 March 2015 (Climate Change): The Cold War came to a swift end in the late 1980s with the collapse of the Soviet bloc. However, by now the Arctic itself seemed to be coming under increasing threat. Since 1979, global temperatures had been slowly rising (Global warming) and the average extent of Arctic sea ice receding (Arctic sea ice decline). By 2015, the Northeast (Northeast Passage) and Northwest Passages (Northwest Passage) which had eluded navigators for centuries were now frequently open in summer and mineral reserves which had once been under ice were now accessible, leading to mounting territorial disputes between the five Arctic littoral nations (Territorial claims in the Arctic).