Reports have been coming in during the summer of 2011 that the summer melt-down has reached a new record low since the beginning of satellite data record ranging back to 1979 as well as other recorded data ranging back to the 50's.
The previous record low occurred in 2007. Sea ice coverage also remains below normal everywhere except the East Greenland Sea.
The Northern Sea route is vastly free of ice. Russians are taking advantage of that, sending numerous vessles through the route, amongst them will be the largest ever tanker to go through the route.
Average ice extent for July 2011 was 7.92 million square kilometers (3.06 million square miles). This is 210,000 square kilometers (81,000 square miles) below the previous record low for the month, set in July 2007, and 2.18 million square kilometers (842,000 square miles) below the average for 1979 to 2000.
On July 31, 2011 Arctic sea ice extent was 6.79 million square kilometers (2.62 million square miles). This was slightly higher than the previous record low for the same day of the year, set in 2007.
"Arctic Dipole anomaly “In a 2008 article titled, Recent radical shifts of atmospheric circulations and rapid changes in Arctic climate system Zhang et al. show that the extreme loss of Arctic sea ice since 2001 has been accompanied by a radical shift of the Arctic atmospheric circulation patterns, into a new mode they call the Arctic Rapid change Pattern. The new atmospheric circulation pattern has also been recognized by other researchers, who refer to it as the Arctic Dipole (Richter-Menge et al., 2009). “ Source: Dr Jeff Masters- Weather Underground
NASA has compiled a video showing the retreat of sea ice in the summertime 2011. From spring to autumn, this is how the sea ice retreated.