The summer melt of the Arctic appears to have reached it’s limit with the sea ice extent at 5.1 million km2 (cf. the 3.41 million km2 record in 2012) as shown on this graph from the NSIDC’s Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis site:
The black line is the 1981-2010 average, plus and minus two standard deviations. The blue is 2007 and the dotted line represents the 2012 record. This year is the sixth lowest on record as this graph from Skeptical Science shows:
Skeptical Science also has graphs for 1870 plus and a reconstruction going back 1450 years. The loss since 1980 is about 40%.
Neven at Arctic Sea Ice Blog explains how weather conditions and the disposition of atmospheric pressure systems influence the loss of ice cover late in the season. For example, under certain conditions more ice is spun out through Fram Strait into the North Atlantic.
This image shows the progressive decadal deterioration in sea ice cover and where the action is now:
Neven shows the PIOMAS figures for August, with volume a little above that of 2010, 2011 and 2012. Nevertheless Dana at Skeptical Science finds volume has reduced by about 75% since 1980. Neven finds the average thickness of 1.34m at 31 August compares with 1.39m in 2102 and 2.33m in 2005.
That video gives a real feel of the dynamic nature of what is happening in the Arctic and the alarming decline of ice cover. David Spratt at Climate Code Red looks at the Arctic in the second of his series on dangerous climate change.
Warming in the Arctic is three times the global average. Many experts think a tipping point in the Arctic ice sheet disintegration has been reached with a largely ice free late summer not too far away.