Sea ice threads always seem to be popular. For people interested in handling data themselves, I’ve updated my utility functions for reading sea ice data here. It contains methods for accessing JAXA, monthly NOAA and NSIDC binary. (The latter works but I haven’t verified the turnkey version. Jeff Id has some related tools.)
Here’s a plot for sea ice through May 2009 for the two hemisphere and global using the script below. As you can see, through May 2009, there is virtually no overall trend with an upward trend in SH sea ice offsetting a downward trend in NH sea ice. The MAy 2009 GLB anomaly is relatively elevated, arising from a highish SH anomaly, while even the NH anomaly was (perhaps surprisingly) more or less at the long-term.
seaice=get.seaice.monthly() #downloads NOAA monthly
To retrieve and plot daily JAXA data is also easy, yielding the graphic below. I’ll improve the coloring on this some time.)