Could massive amounts of rainfall in Australia have deprived the Arctic of fresh water so there was less sea ice?
NSIDC: ”Water from the Pacific Ocean and several rivers in Russia and Canada provide fresher, less dense water to the Arctic Ocean. So the Arctic Ocean has a layer of cold, fresh water near the surface with warmer, saltier water below. This cold, fresh water layer typically allows more ice growth in the Arctic than the Antarctic.“
NCAR: ” when three atmospheric patterns came together over the Indian and Pacific oceans, they drove so much precipitation over Australia in 2010 and 2011 that the world’s ocean levels dropped measurably.”