As I wrote last month:
It all depends on the weather in the coming weeks, of course, but according to the forecasts anomalously warm temperatures and clear skies are persisting in the short term, and so I wouldn't be surprised if 2015 overtakes 2014 (which lost incredibly little volume during July), comes closer to 2013 and starts closing that enormous gap with 2012.
This is exactly what happened, as the past month turned out to be the warmest and sunniest July in the 2006-2015 period (I'll have more on that in the upcoming July analysis). Volume dropped by 6659 km3, the second biggest drop in the 2006-2015 period, slightly less than 2009, slightly more than 2007 (here's a comparison with both years).
And so 2015 overtook 2014 and is now 971 km3 lower, the gap with 2013 went down from 1223 to 809 km3, and the huge gap with 2012 has become around 30% smaller (from 2968 to 1928 km3).
Here's Wipneus' PIOMAS volume graph:
This also means that the trend line on the PIOMAS sea ice volume anomaly graph has dipped a bit further below the linear trend:
After crudely calculating the ice pack's average thickness by dividing PIOMAS volume numbers with Cryosphere Today sea ice area numbers, it seems this year's trend line is still relatively high compared to the post-2010 years, which makes sense, as CT SIA is relatively low right now (and volume relatively high, which means thickness goes up too):
The Polar Science Center's thickness graph shows the trend line dashing off on its own though, with 2015 now hovering between the top droppers and the rest:
This year's melting season has basically wiped out the 2014 rebound (or 'recovery' as some people try to sell it), but it's still very much up in the air whether the 2015 trend line will dip below that of 2013 as well. 2013 didn't drop all that much during August, the least in the 2006-2015 period, which is only 372 km3 below the average.
The thing is that the weather has switched again, and a weak cyclone is dominating that part of the Arctic where most of the thick ice is situated. There's some discussion on the forum whether this is good for melting or not. My experience is that area/extent decrease tends to stall when cyclones dominate, especially if these cyclones aren't all that strong, and things simply don't move. At this point compaction and transport become more important for how low the melting season ends up.
But there is some transport going on because of the weak cyclone, and it's in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, where most of the thicker multi-year ice is. These floes are pushed towards the Canadian/Alaskan coast where anomalously warm water is finishing them off. Of course, I'll have more on this in the ASI update, but it'll be interesting to see what this will do to volume.
And so we wait and see whether the 'recovery' gets wiped out (something I alluded to in this guest blog for the Guardian Environment page).