Scientists – even climate researchers – don’t usually use hyperbole. But Mark Serreze, of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre at Colorado University in Denver, said the latest Arctic sea ice figures – which show accelerating decline – had “simply fallen off a cliff and we’re still losing ice.”

When you look at their latest charts, you can see why he chose the phrase – click on the pdf below if you don’t want to scroll down through their other data.

Dr Serreze was quoted in the Guardian as saying the Arctic could lose all of its ice in less than a quarter of a century.

“If you asked me a couple of years ago when the Arctic could lose all of its ice, then I would have said 2100, or 2070 maybe. But now I think that 2030 is a reasonable estimate. It seems that the Arctic is going to be a very different place within our lifetimes, and certainly within our children’s lifetimes.”

The main cause? Man-made global warming. Bad news if you’re a polar bear.