As the polar night sweeps down Novaya Zemlya, Arctic sea ice area has been growing by more than 60,000 km2 per day. For now, ice area in the Kara and other marginal seas remains anomalously low, but months of freezing lie ahead. Perhaps the freezing will be interesting to watch, like the melting. So far, this fall's freeze-up has paced 2007, while staying just ahead (Figure 1).
Figure 2 takes a longer view, comparing the October 21 ice area with previous years. Although 2011 currently shows around 400,000 km2 more ice than the lowest year, 2007, it has 400,000 km2 less than the third-lowest year, and 700,000 less than the fourth. These recent years marking “the modern area of ice” still stand apart from from 2006 and earlier values.