The Arctic sea ice is a vast frozen layer of water covering a surface larger than Europe in the winter. In the last three decades the summer ice extent has been dramatically shrinking at an average rate of 12 % per decade reaching its lowest extent ever recorded in the summer 2007. In addition the ice is thinning at an even faster rate of 16 % per decade. Our results match global estimates. Climate change experiments using Global Circulation Models (GCMs) have been shown to underestimate these trends and it was recently acknowledged that this discrepancy between sea ice models predictions and observations is at least partly due to the poor description of the way the ice is flowing and deforming under the combined forces exerted by the atmospheric wind, the underlying ocean currents but also the mechanical properties of the ice itself. Another failure of current models of sea ice is that they fail to capture the degree of localization of the deformation as exemplified by the network of so called linear kinematic features that are visible from satellite imagery (see figure 3).