• Arctic;
  • Ice-free;
  • CMIP5;
  • Variability


Trends of Arctic September sea ice area (SSIA) are investigated through analysis of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) data. The large range across models is reduced by weighting them according to how they match nine observed parameters. Calibration of this refined SSIA projection to observations of different 5 year averages suggests that nearly ice-free conditions, where ice area is less than 1 × 106 km2, will likely occur between 2039 and 2045, not accounting for internal variability. When adding internal variability, we demonstrate that ice-free conditions could occur as early as 2032. The 2013 rebound in ice extent has little effect on these projections. We also identify that our refined projection displays a change in the variability of SSIA, indicating a possible change in regime.