It’s not unusual for the Arctic sea ice extent to decrease rapidly during the summer months, but despite this years maximum only being the eighth lowest in the NSIDC series 1978 it’s extent has been decreasing rapidly during the spring months. At the moment it’s on a parallel downhill course with 2016, and on the 6th of June was only marginally higher and second lowest for this date (fig 1). The year to watch is not 2016 though but 2012, because on the 16th of September Arctic sea ice extent dipped to 3.34 million square kilometres the lowest in the 40 year old series. The graph below (fig 2) shows the years 2016 (black) and 2012 (blue) compared with 2019 (red).
Apologies for the rather lurid title for this post but I was getting rather fed up with second lowest.