As of 5 Jan. 2011 the data coming from IJIS shows that the 2010 Arctic sea ice extent is about 3% lower than that for 2008, below 2009, but above the record low for 2007. The year finished with the lowest on record for Dec. 31. There was a large late August melt in 2008 which plunged the September minimum well below the trend line but still above the unusual year of 2007. This year although the extent started larger in April, at about 105% of the 2003-2010 average, it plunged rapidly to the second lowest at 91% (even below 2008) during April and May, and rose again in June to about 95%. The 2010 minimum of 4,813,594 sq.km. was very close to that for 2008 at only 2.25% above that year’s minimum of 4,707,813. It is interesting to note, however, that the year-to-date average extent tells a different story; the minimum tells only a small part of the story and it is very clear that the long-term trend is continued depletion of Arctic sea ice.
Visit the “Arctic Sea Ice” page for more detail