Right, with that out of the way we can now look at various aspects of the 2011/2012 freezing season, and compare them to previous years, to be precise the previous freezing season of 2010/2011, and the freezing seasons leading up to and following that other record year: 2006/2007 and 2007/2008. Simply put: I'll be comparing 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012 before their respective start of the melting season.
I'll try not to use too many words, but I'll be using a lot of images. Click on them images if you want a bigger version.
I'll start with the AARI ice age maps. These images are for the end of April, and they look upside down, because it's from the perspective of the Russians who produced them: