Despite this being the second melting season that rebounds from the spectacular sea ice loss event of 2012, there have been some notable events that characterize this melting season. We may have already become used to these events, but may do well to remember that they were much rarer before 2007.
Take for instance, the Northern Sea Route that has opened up completely yet again, for the 7th year in a row. Shipping has been increasing there from year to year, and this year will probably be no different, given the following forecast for sea ice conditions in the second half of the navigation season:
Things look less easy in the Northwest Passage, where the main passage will probably remain closed again this year (after being open in 2007 and 2009-2012), although several yachts are making it through the southern route, such as Le Manguier (hat-tip to @arcticio):
But this year's main course is the sea ice in the Laptev Sea. Literally.
In previous melting seasons we had already witnessed a pronounced retreat of sea ice in this region of the Arctic. The event was quickly dubbed 'Laptev Bite', because that's what the open water grabbing its way towards the Pole looked like. But this year it's more than a bite. It's much wider and further into the pack, further than I have ever seen it go.
Arcticio sent me this animation that shows the progression of the retreat during August: