2012 smashed the record for smallest amount of sea ice left in the Arctic at the end of the summer melt season. (Read about that here if you missed it.) Today’s Earth Observatory presents a comparison that helps you get a feel for the numbers. The first image shows what the summer minimum looked like back in 1984. The second shows it in 2012. Click on either image to read more.
I you really want to understand why this matters, read this excellent post that explains it all.