What happens next in the Arctic is anyone’s guess. But Penn State’s Titley, who said we are “headed into a new unknown” is concerned: “Science is still trying to figure out the details. We do know that 2017 will almost certainly start with the weakest, thinnest, smallest arctic ice pack in recorded history. So we are one step closer to living with an ice-free arctic in the summer, and probably sooner than we think.”

We are experiencing now the consequences of our action and inaction as it relates to climate change. Warned for decades that this was approaching, we had a muted response at best. That significant portions of the GOP continue to deny climate change—to the point that they’ve made it an unofficial policy to not even talk about it in places like Florida—speaks to the anti-science bent that will have serious consequences. Turns out those consequences are coming a lot sooner than even the scientists thought.