Arctic system on trajectory to new, seasonally ice-free state



The Arctic system is moving toward a new state that falls outside the envelope of glacial-interglacial fluctuations that prevailed during recent Earth history. This future Arctic is likely to have dramatically less permanent ice than exists at present. At the present rate of change, a summer ice-free Arctic Ocean within a century is a real possibility, a state not witnessed for at least a million years. The change appears to be driven largely by feedback-enhanced global climate warming, and there seem to be few, if any processes or feedbacks within the Arctic system that are capable of altering the trajectory toward this “super interglacial” state.