A time series of surface melt extent, frequency and onset has been updated to include data from Electrically Scanning Microwave Radiometer (ESMR) (1973, 1974 and 1976), Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) (1979–1987) and the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) (1987–2007). The seasonal melt departure (SMD), the sum from 1 June to 31 August of the departure from average of each day's melt extent, is a new metric used to describe the amount of melt. Results show a large increase in melt in summer 2007, 60% more than the previous high in 1998. During summer 2007, some locations south of 70°N had as many as 50 more days of melt than average. Melt occurred as much as 30 days earlier than average. The SMD is shown to be significantly related to temperatures at coastal meteorological stations, although 2007 had more melt than might be expected based on the summer temperature record.