Total ice extent is lower than 2006, due to persistent southerly winds which have been pushing the ice towards the poles and melting out the thinner ice.
We are told though that the true measure of ice “health” is the thickness of the ice. 2006 had a lot more thin ice (less than 1.5 metres) in September, but the total amount of thicker ice (greater than 2 metres) was similar.
The next maps show only ice greater than two metres thick. As you can see, 2010 is almost back to 2006 levels of thicker ice.
Average ice thickness is higher than 2006, and higher than any time since 2007.
The amount of thick ice has increased substantially since 2008.
Conclusion : The amount of thick Arctic ice (greater than 2.0 metres) has increased substantially since 2008, and is almost back to 2006 levels.