Over the past 25 years, the average annual Arctic sea ice area has
decreased by about five percent and summer sea ice area has
decreased by roughly 15 percent. The collapse of the Larsen Ice
Shelf off the Antarctic Peninsula appears to have no precedent in
the last 11,000 years.
In addition, the Greenland Ice Sheet is
rapidly melting (see graphic below).
In 2007, a United Nationals panel of 2500 scientists from 130
countries concluded that ice caps will probably be completely melted
by the year 2100. Some scientists believe the total melting
will occur even sooner.