Its an interactive graph. You can turn different years on and off and get an idea how Arctic Sea Ice Extent has varied over the years. You can also zoom in and out and look at the short term variations in SIE.
One informative exercise is to click on the curves for a few years, say 10 years apart, to get a look at how fast the ice has been melting since 1979 when the satellite monitoring began. The years since 2000 are particularly instructive. Once again, the record low summer ice year was 2012, the red dashed line, when storms broke up the ice pack prematurely by midsummer melt (around September 15).
It looks like this year might break that 2012 record, storms or no storms. Its been long overdue.
So why is this important? The Arctic Basin is affected much more than the Temperate Regions by global warming. Whatever is happening to the planet’s climate will happen there first, and more dramatically. What the peoples, wildlife and ecosystems of the Arctic regions are experiencing now is a preview of what we can expect in a few more years.