This winter’s maximum extent of the sea ice was one of the lowest but of course it’s the loss of ice in the summer and the open ocean absorbing the suns heat that affects the weather.
Graph from http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
Watching this is a slow business as there is only a serious melt for about three months of the year. At the moment we are only just past the winter maximum extent of Arctic sea ice and so there is only speculative forecasting for this summer’s melt.
Illustration from http://greatwhitecon.info/2014/04/new-arctic-sea-ice-resources/
The implication is that with the ice broken into very small particles the ice will melt more quickly when the Sun gets higher. The ice will not have its ability to reflect heat and instead the blue sea will absorb the heat into the ocean and this warmth increases the likelihood of a polar vortex and serious disruption to the weather pattern.
As the Sun ascends in the North and the ice starts its summer melt there will be a lot of people watching the progress as it is the most visible and volatile indicator of our warming world and climate change.