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Click here to examine the data source.
Click here to download the raw data into a spreadsheet.
Use the raw data to verify that -- from 8/6/09 to yesterday (8/9/09) -- the Arctic Sea Ice Extent has consistently been larger than 2008 (which was larger than 2007). Given the current slope of the curve in the chart, it appears as though we may see considerably less melting this year compared to 2008. Time will tell.
Given that we are currently not terribly far removed from the climatic optimum of the current interglacial warming period -- just the latest of “around 100 [interglacial warming periods] in the last 2.5 million years” -- I would normally expect a (perfectly normal, perfectly natural) general trend of less Arctic Sea Ice with each passing year.
The FACT that we saw less melting in 2008 and may well see less melting still in 2009 is just further evidence of the current cooling trend.
I expect the current cooling trend will last a total of 30 to 40 years. During this cooling trend, I would not be surprised to see a general trend of increasing ice melt. Then, I expect a resumption of the perfectly natural, perfectly normal (and, on balance, generally beneficial) gradual warming trend which began 2,000 years ago.