The Queen Elizabeth Islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago exhibit one of the most complex sea-ice regimes in the Northern Hemisphere. Time series of minimum monthly passive-microwave sea-ice area (1979−98), minimum sea-ice extent, melting degree-days (1961−98) and minimum sea ice from the new Canadian Ice Service digital database (1968−98) are examined. The extreme nature of the amount of sea-ice melt in the summers of 1998 and 1962 is evident in these time series. The 38 year record of minimum ice, to date, shows no significant trend. Details of the sea-ice behavior during summer 1998 were then examined within 13 individual sea-ice regimes. The multi-year fast-ice plugs in both Sverdrup Channel and Nansen Sound broke up and became truly mobile in 1998. Discussion focuses on the areas surrounding the multi-year plugs, relating sea-ice conditions to weather. Results emphasize the importance of the timing of synoptic events in combination with strong thermal preconditioning in determining the sea-ice conditions in this area during summer 1998.