Arctic heading for ice-free summers in next few decades.

Guardian: “The Arctic is on course for an ice-free summer within the next few decades, as scientists on Friday declared that sea ice in the region had fallen to one of the lowest annual minimums on record.” “On 13 September, the expanse of frozen water in the Arctic fell to 5.10 million square kilometres (1.97 million square miles), the sixth-lowest such measurement on record, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said in a statement. The annual minimum was not as extreme as the collapse of sea ice last year, which smashed through all records. But it was still well below the average of the last three decades.
“The overall trend is still decidedly downwards,” the NSIDC director, Mark Serreze, said in a statement. “The pattern we’ve seen so far is an overall downward trend in summer ice extent, punctuated by ups and downs due to natural variability in weather patterns and ocean conditions.”
He went on: “We could be looking at summers with essentially no sea ice on the Arctic Ocean only a few decades from now.”
In the run-up to the release next week of the United Nations’ blockbuster global warming report, climate doubters have seized on the apparent “recovery” of sea ice, compared to last year’s death spiral, as evidence that there is no need for concern about the melting of the Arctic sea ice. But satellite images going back to 1980 and records compiled by scientists using ice cores and tree ring data going back as far as 1870 show a continued and dramatic long-term decline in summer sea ice.
The so-called recovery of the sea ice this year does not even begin to reverse that decline, scientists said on Friday.”