Through July, sea ice declined at an average pace of 90,200 square kilometers (34,800 square miles) per day, which is slightly faster than the average for 1979 to 2000 of 84,400 square kilometers (32,600 square miles) per day. Ice loss slowed towards the end of July as a high-pressure cell centered over the northern Beaufort Sea broke down and a series of low-pressure systems moved over the central Arctic Ocean. This change brought cooler conditions and likely pushed the ice apart into a thinner but more extensive ice cover.
A map of ice age for the third week of July, combined with sea ice concentration for July 31, 2011 shows that in the eastern Beaufort Sea, the ice has essentially melted back to the edge of the multi-year ice cover (ice older than one year). Multi-year ice is more resistant to melting completely in summer, so it is not yet clear how much more ice will melt. Another tongue of old ice extends from near the pole towards the New Siberian Islands.
Between late March and late July first-year (younger) Arctic sea ice has declined by 30%, multi-year ice has declined by 14%, and the oldest ice, or ice older than 5 years, has declined by 16% . For background information on ice thickness, see the new post on NSIDC's Icelights.