The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its Arctic Report Card on Thursday, and the news for sea ice isn't good. Record temperatures have sped up the melting of Arctic sea ice so much, the report concludes, that a "return to previous Arctic conditions is unlikely."
The reports notes that the rate of warming in the Arctic slowed down some in 2009, but the first half of 2010 has brought warming to a "near record pace." That in turn has caused near-record sea ice loss so far this year.
More on the report here. Here's what the seasonal melting between March and September of this year looked like: