The research finds that even under a scenario where climate pollution is significantly cut, the Arctic will still be “practically” ice-free in September by the middle of this century.

“We are very quickly about to lose the Arctic summer sea-ice cover, basically independent of what we are doing,” Dirk Notz, study author and a climate scientist at the University of Hamburg in Germany told the New York Times. “We’ve been waiting too long now to do something about climate change to still protect the remaining ice.” Sea ice is critical to prevent global warming because it reflects solar radiation back into space.

Without an ice sheet, the Arctic will warm even faster, driving sea level rise and the associated impacts. The Arctic has already been warming four times more than the global average over the past forty years. (The Hill, Bloomberg $, New York Times $)