A new year, a new volume.
Relatively warm temperatures in the Arctic in the past couple of weeks, and an increase in Fram Strait transport, have caused a slowdown in volume increase towards the end of December. At least, that's my interpretation going by comments posted on the Forum and the latest NSIDC monthly analysis. Maybe something else is playing a role as well. Last month I wrote:
I had expected the difference with the post-2010 volume crash years to become smaller, as higher volume means thicker ice, means less radiation, means slower ice growth.
The slowdown is also making itself felt on sea ice extent and area graphs. Whatever the exact cause, the gap with previous years has now become somewhat smaller, though still significant. For instance, compared to last month the difference with 2013 has gone down from 1455 to 1062 km3. And while the difference with record year 2012 went down from 3176 to 2921 km3, 2006 has now also 238 km3 less ice volume than this year (last month it had 294 km3 more volume).
This can be seen on the more detailed PIOMAS sea ice volume graph produced by Wipneus, where 2006 is light green. 2014 ended the year as 8th lowest on record:
The trend line on the PIOMAS sea ice volume anomaly graph has gone up another notch into the positive two standard deviation zone, as compared to the linear trend: