In the last week CT Area anomalies have shown two substantial drops, followed by a suggestion of a downward slope. The prediction I previously made, link, is shown in dark blue, it lies between the central and lower bounds. Following the early August storm of 2012 CT Area anomalies fell throughout August, it had seemed that this year the gap between 2012 and 2013 would widen due to 2012 moving ahead with a higher August loss rate, however this may not be the case, we could see exceptional losses in August this year.
The US Navy's HYCOM sea ice modelling system suggests things may just be about to get very interesting.
There is a reduction of thickness in Beaufort, lower left quadrant, this was caused by a strong low pressure system. However it also seems to lead to a rapid drop of thickness in Chukchi and the East Siberian Sea (upper left quadrant).
This low pressure system has driven strong ice movement in the Alaskan sector.
The low pressure system itself is seen on the plot below. It's the third of three successive cyclones in the same region, eg Neven's Blog, but this seems to be the one that will have impact, if HYCOM is correct.
For context it's worth looking at what HYCOM shows for past years on the current date.
The pack as modelled in HYCOM is shown to be in a far poorer state than the other available years. PIOMAS shows that by August volume losses are far below their peak in early July, but with ice as thin as HYCOM suggests it won't take much volume loss to reveal a lot of open water.
The following table is of July CT Area losses so far, in million km^2:
2013 is in the top three losses and well ahead of 2012 for July loss, 2012 is at 24th place with a loss of -2.36M km^2. If HYCOM is getting it right at present than we could see 2013 make a good running, if not for a new record, for a solid second place.
With regards my prediction method of early this month, the question now becomes how big a sigma deviation this year will be. Will the lack of trend of CT Area losses from 20 June to minimum reveal 2013 to be a black swan year? And given that 2013's atmospheric set up has not been as conducive to ice melt as the strong dipole anomaly patterns of 2007 to 2012, is the only interpretation that the ice really is on the threshold of an exciting crash. Is the ice critically thin and does 2013 show this despite the weird* weather this year?
*weird in the context of the other post 2007 years, link.