In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that that the Arctic would be ice free in 60 years.
In new projections, that projection has been reduced to as little as six years.
Already the warming trend is having a devastating impact on plants, animals, and
native seal fishermen, who reportedly sit landlocked and watch huge freighters sail past.
But the melting Arctic ice presents an opportunity for countries that are hoping to capitalize on huge mineral, oil and gas reserves that are now accessible.
Largely they're cooperating under international agreements. But the Arctic is also where geopolitical tensions are playing out.
Russia has a far greater presence in the Arctic than the United States, and this month, the U.S. put military exercises with Russia on hold in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. In one exercise the United States aimed virtual torpedoes at a virtual Russian submarine.
This segment aired on March 31, 2014.