The state of global polar sea ice at the beginning of September 2010 is once again very poor compared to climatological conditions (1979-2008). The Arctic ice extent is far, far below average for this time of year. The Antarctic sea ice extent is above average, but not nearly so much as was the case at the beginning of August. Unfortunately, global sea ice extent has fallen to ~18 million sq. km., something that has happened in only 2 previous Septembers: in 2007 and 2008. The Northwest Passage and the Northern Sea Route are largely free of ice, allowing the Arctic Ocean to potentially be circumnavigated.
Each month and each year that goes by provides additional proof that the Arctic has entered into a new state; a different state than has existed for 1,000 years or more. Monthly and yearly weather conditions have varied considerably over the past few years, as one would expect, but the end result has been nearly the same regardless of any specific condition: Arctic sea ice is declining year-over-year. It is declining at a rate that exceeds scientific estimates from just a few years ago. Climate change deniers keep prattling on about increasing sea ice, in direct contradiction to the physical realities before them. I think most of the areas that have sea ice this September will not have sea ice by 2020. Specific weather or geologic events might delay the year that occurs slightly, but I don’t think it will take too much longer to witness an Arctic Ocean that is essentially ice-free.