Lately the focus has been on the Beaufort Sea where a high-pressure area has caused the ice pack to crack on a massive scale, even earlier than in previous years, with ice being transported away from the North American coast (see here). But such a large and persistent high-pressure system is bound to have an impact elsewhere in the Arctic as well, so here's an overview of what's been happening on the Atlantic side of the Arctic (and a bit of Siberia as well).
As we saw in the recent 2015/2016 Winter analysis blog post, the Arctic experienced an incredibly warm/non-cold winter:
On top of that, a string of cyclones crossed the Atlantic and veered off to the Arctic, causing increased ocean heat flux on the Atlantic side of the Arctic, which explains why the Barentsz Sea and Greenland Sea have been anomalously low in sea ice extent all winter. They're still extremely low:
In fact, Svalbard could almost be circumnavigated several times, with at one point very close to ice-free conditions from Svalbard all the way to Franz Josef Land.This graph from the PolarView website shows how anomalously low sea ice levels have been in the Svalbard region: