What is up at the NSIDC? According to their charts, new ice has not formed in the Arctic for more than a week. This is despite temperatures which, according to the laws of physics, ought to be quite cool enough to put a bit of a crust on the skating pond.
Apologists and alarmists, step forward please to explain why we deniers should be worried.
UPDATE Jan 7/09 from NSIDC.
The explanation is "at least in part" about high pressure systems and low pressure systems doing what they do, ie settling in long enough to arrange themselves to set up strong winds. In this case the winds were from the south (ie comparatively warm) but were strong and persistent enough to keep the edge of the ice from advancing.
Reasons for December's pause in ice extent changeYou can compare the NSIDC areal extent and the AMSR-E extent charts above.
December's week-long pause in expansion of the ice cover appears to have been caused, at least in part, by an anomalous atmospheric pressure pattern. High pressure over Alaska and the European Arctic, coupled with unusually low pressure east of Greenland and over eastern Siberia, brought warm southerly winds over much of the Arctic Ocean. The southerly winds helped keep the ice edge from expanding southward. In addition, warm sea surface temperatures, at least in the Barents Sea, inhibited ice formation.