The significant decrease in Arctic areas that is reportedly caused by regional climate change. Some scientists attribute arctic shrinkage to global warming while others argue that it is caused by natural changes in local wind currents. Projections indicate that the Arctic Ocean may be completely free of sea ice during summer when we reach the years 2060 to 2080. Some scientists and environmentalists consider arctic shrinkage to be a high-sensitivity indicator of climate change. It is also considered a global environmental threat as the thawing of Arctic permafrost could release high amounts of methane into the air.