Images (click to enlarge): 2009 Arctic sea ice extent through July 21 from National Snow and Ice Data Center; September 2009 sea ice outlook from Study of Environmental Arctic Change
The mid-July Arctic sea ice analysis shows that this season's melting is proceeding at a higher rate than last year, but less than the record year of 2007:
On July 21, Arctic sea ice extent was 8.28 million square kilometers (3.20 million square miles). This is 617,000 square kilometers (238,000 square miles) more ice than for the same day in 2007 and 1.36 million square kilometers (523,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average. Ice extent on July 21, 2009 remained 8.06% higher than the same day in 2007, yet was 2.44% below the same day in 2008 and 14.06% below the 1979-2000 average for that day.The latest outlook from 16 individual estimates for the September seasonal minimum shows a range of levels from below the 2007 record to above the 2008 level:
The range of individual outlook values this month is from 4.0 to 5.2 million square kilometers, with most of the estimates in a narrow range of 4.4 to 5.2 million square kilometers. The two lowest estimates, 4.0 and 4.2 million square kilometers, would represent a new record minimum. All estimates are well below the 1979–2007 September climatological mean value of 6.7 million square kilometers. The uncertainty / error values, from those groups that provided them, are about 0.4 million square kilometers, thus many of the values essentially overlap.