The previous pun - cracks of dawn - was wearing off, and the comment section was getting full, so here's a new pun and blog post dedicated to the cracking event that started in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas a couple of weeks ago, and then moved on to the multi-year ice against the Canadian Archipelago. This is also discussed in the Arctic Sea Ice Forum (ignore the security warning and make an exception as https is actually safer than http).
This image was posted yesterday by Chris Reynolds from the Dosbat blog:
To recapitulate: It is normal for the ice to crack and for leads to occur. However, this is very extensive cracking and there are some very big leads, and all of it seems to come earlier than expected. Given last year's melting mayhem and the low amount of multi-year ice, it makes one wonder whether this early cracking will have any effect in the melting season to come.
There are still several weeks to go before this part of the Arctic is going to start melting, up till then the ice will actually thicken some more, even when the Sun's rays start to reach the ice. But the ice is already getting broken up in smaller pieces, which means that 1) the pack becomes more mobile (like we saw last year), and 2) the thin ice that now grows to fill up the leads, will go first when the melting starts, potentially leading to more open water between floes to absorb solar energy and convert it to heat.
But maybe not. Maybe this will have zero influence. We don't know. That's why we watch.
PS A-Team did some more of his magic and produced this image showing the temperature of the ice and the cracks between floes (click for a larger version):