According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) the pack ice in the Arctic Ocean has reached its maximum melt for the summer season and has now started refreezing. It is another record year and three out of the last four years have seen the most melting ever recorded.
"This is only the third time in the satellite record that ice extent has fallen below 5 million square kilometers (1.93 million square miles), and all those occurrences have been within the past four years. The minimum for 2009 was 5.10 million square kilometers (1.97 million square miles), fourth lowest in the satellite record.
Despite a late start to the melt season, the ice extent declined rapidly thereafter, with record daily average ice loss rates for the Arctic as a whole for May and June. Assuming that we have indeed reached the seasonal minimum extent, 2010 would have the shortest melt season in the satellite record, spanning 163 days between the seasonal maximum and minimum ice extents." NSIDC