History of sea ice in the Arctic

Leonid Polyak, Richard B. Alley, John T. Andrews, Julie Brigham-Grette, Thomas M. Cronin, Dennis A. Darby, Arthur S. Dyke, Joan J. Fitzpatrick, Svend Funder, Marika Holland, Anne E. Jennings, Gifford H. Miller, Matt O'Regan, James Savelle, Mark Serreze, Kristen St. John, James W.C. White, Eric Wolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

250 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Arctic sea-ice extent and volume are declining rapidly. Several studies project that the Arctic Ocean may become seasonally ice-free by the year 2040 or even earlier. Putting this into perspective requires information on the history of Arctic sea-ice conditions through the geologic past. This information can be provided by proxy records from the Arctic Ocean floor and from the surrounding coasts. Although existing records are far from complete, they indicate that sea ice became a feature of the Arctic by 47Ma, following a pronounced decline in atmospheric pCO2 after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Optimum, and consistently covered at least part of the Arctic Ocean for no less than the last 13-14 million years. Ice was apparently most widespread during the last 2-3 million years, in accordance with Earth's overall cooler climate. Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred during warmer periods linked to orbital variations. The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene, after which the northern high latitudes cooled overall, with some superimposed shorter-term (multidecadal to millennial-scale) and lower-magnitude variability. The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late 19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1757-1778
Number of pages22
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume29
Issue number15-16
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

Fingerprint

Arctic
sea ice
Arctic region
ice
history
orbital forcing
climate
insolation
ice cover
Paleocene
Eocene
seafloor
warming
History
Holocene
coast
coolers
global warming
Arctic Ocean
event

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology

Cite this

Polyak, L., Alley, R. B., Andrews, J. T., Brigham-Grette, J., Cronin, T. M., Darby, D. A., ... Wolff, E. (2010). History of sea ice in the Arctic. Quaternary Science Reviews, 29(15-16), 1757-1778. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.010
Polyak, Leonid ; Alley, Richard B. ; Andrews, John T. ; Brigham-Grette, Julie ; Cronin, Thomas M. ; Darby, Dennis A. ; Dyke, Arthur S. ; Fitzpatrick, Joan J. ; Funder, Svend ; Holland, Marika ; Jennings, Anne E. ; Miller, Gifford H. ; O'Regan, Matt ; Savelle, James ; Serreze, Mark ; St. John, Kristen ; White, James W.C. ; Wolff, Eric. / History of sea ice in the Arctic. In: Quaternary Science Reviews. 2010 ; Vol. 29, No. 15-16. pp. 1757-1778.
@article{184d2cb164a94f33a24778935c43d460,
title = "History of sea ice in the Arctic",
abstract = "Arctic sea-ice extent and volume are declining rapidly. Several studies project that the Arctic Ocean may become seasonally ice-free by the year 2040 or even earlier. Putting this into perspective requires information on the history of Arctic sea-ice conditions through the geologic past. This information can be provided by proxy records from the Arctic Ocean floor and from the surrounding coasts. Although existing records are far from complete, they indicate that sea ice became a feature of the Arctic by 47Ma, following a pronounced decline in atmospheric pCO2 after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Optimum, and consistently covered at least part of the Arctic Ocean for no less than the last 13-14 million years. Ice was apparently most widespread during the last 2-3 million years, in accordance with Earth's overall cooler climate. Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred during warmer periods linked to orbital variations. The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene, after which the northern high latitudes cooled overall, with some superimposed shorter-term (multidecadal to millennial-scale) and lower-magnitude variability. The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late 19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities.",
author = "Leonid Polyak and Alley, {Richard B.} and Andrews, {John T.} and Julie Brigham-Grette and Cronin, {Thomas M.} and Darby, {Dennis A.} and Dyke, {Arthur S.} and Fitzpatrick, {Joan J.} and Svend Funder and Marika Holland and Jennings, {Anne E.} and Miller, {Gifford H.} and Matt O'Regan and James Savelle and Mark Serreze and {St. John}, Kristen and White, {James W.C.} and Eric Wolff",
year = "2010",
month = "7",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.010",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "29",
pages = "1757--1778",
journal = "Quaternary Science Reviews",
issn = "0277-3791",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "15-16",

}

Polyak, L, Alley, RB, Andrews, JT, Brigham-Grette, J, Cronin, TM, Darby, DA, Dyke, AS, Fitzpatrick, JJ, Funder, S, Holland, M, Jennings, AE, Miller, GH, O'Regan, M, Savelle, J, Serreze, M, St. John, K, White, JWC & Wolff, E 2010, 'History of sea ice in the Arctic', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 29, no. 15-16, pp. 1757-1778. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.010

History of sea ice in the Arctic. / Polyak, Leonid; Alley, Richard B.; Andrews, John T.; Brigham-Grette, Julie; Cronin, Thomas M.; Darby, Dennis A.; Dyke, Arthur S.; Fitzpatrick, Joan J.; Funder, Svend; Holland, Marika; Jennings, Anne E.; Miller, Gifford H.; O'Regan, Matt; Savelle, James; Serreze, Mark; St. John, Kristen; White, James W.C.; Wolff, Eric.

In: Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol. 29, No. 15-16, 01.07.2010, p. 1757-1778.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - History of sea ice in the Arctic

AU - Polyak, Leonid

AU - Alley, Richard B.

AU - Andrews, John T.

AU - Brigham-Grette, Julie

AU - Cronin, Thomas M.

AU - Darby, Dennis A.

AU - Dyke, Arthur S.

AU - Fitzpatrick, Joan J.

AU - Funder, Svend

AU - Holland, Marika

AU - Jennings, Anne E.

AU - Miller, Gifford H.

AU - O'Regan, Matt

AU - Savelle, James

AU - Serreze, Mark

AU - St. John, Kristen

AU - White, James W.C.

AU - Wolff, Eric

PY - 2010/7/1

Y1 - 2010/7/1

N2 - Arctic sea-ice extent and volume are declining rapidly. Several studies project that the Arctic Ocean may become seasonally ice-free by the year 2040 or even earlier. Putting this into perspective requires information on the history of Arctic sea-ice conditions through the geologic past. This information can be provided by proxy records from the Arctic Ocean floor and from the surrounding coasts. Although existing records are far from complete, they indicate that sea ice became a feature of the Arctic by 47Ma, following a pronounced decline in atmospheric pCO2 after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Optimum, and consistently covered at least part of the Arctic Ocean for no less than the last 13-14 million years. Ice was apparently most widespread during the last 2-3 million years, in accordance with Earth's overall cooler climate. Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred during warmer periods linked to orbital variations. The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene, after which the northern high latitudes cooled overall, with some superimposed shorter-term (multidecadal to millennial-scale) and lower-magnitude variability. The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late 19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities.

AB - Arctic sea-ice extent and volume are declining rapidly. Several studies project that the Arctic Ocean may become seasonally ice-free by the year 2040 or even earlier. Putting this into perspective requires information on the history of Arctic sea-ice conditions through the geologic past. This information can be provided by proxy records from the Arctic Ocean floor and from the surrounding coasts. Although existing records are far from complete, they indicate that sea ice became a feature of the Arctic by 47Ma, following a pronounced decline in atmospheric pCO2 after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Optimum, and consistently covered at least part of the Arctic Ocean for no less than the last 13-14 million years. Ice was apparently most widespread during the last 2-3 million years, in accordance with Earth's overall cooler climate. Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred during warmer periods linked to orbital variations. The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene, after which the northern high latitudes cooled overall, with some superimposed shorter-term (multidecadal to millennial-scale) and lower-magnitude variability. The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late 19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77954815369&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77954815369&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.010

DO - 10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.010

M3 - Article

VL - 29

SP - 1757

EP - 1778

JO - Quaternary Science Reviews

JF - Quaternary Science Reviews

SN - 0277-3791

IS - 15-16

ER -

Polyak L, Alley RB, Andrews JT, Brigham-Grette J, Cronin TM, Darby DA et al. History of sea ice in the Arctic. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2010 Jul 1;29(15-16):1757-1778. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.010