The melting season is about to shift one gear higher, and so I thought it'd be useful to have a comprehensive look at this past winter (just like we did last year). As we saw in this recent PIOMAS update, it seems that this year's conditions for ice formation were better over on the Siberian side of the Arctic.
The Beaufort Sea had relatively little multi-year ice flowing in which should make the pack weaker there, as evidenced by the large cracking event of February and March. The image on the top right shows a map of the ice pack, where this year's thickness is compared to last year's (red = thicker, blue = thinner).
I want to look further into this by comparing the 2012/2013 winter with those of previous record years, such as 2006/2007, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. Click on the images if you want a larger version.