News & AnalysisClimate Change

Ice-Free Arctic Sea May Be Years, Not Decades, Away

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Science  28 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6102, pp. 1591
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6102.1591

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The now-clearly-accelerating decline of summer ice—punctuated by exceptional losses in 2007 and now in 2012—has persuaded everyone that summer Arctic sea ice will be a goner far sooner than the end of the century, as current models predict. So the full knock-on effects of an ice-free Arctic Ocean—from the loss of polar bear habitat to possible increases of weather extremes at mid-latitudes—could be here in many people's lifetimes. How far wrong the models might be, however, is still very much in dispute.