This is interesting, somehow the Earth managed to reduce a good portion of the Arctic Ice Cap during the Holocene Climate Optimum from approximately 10,000-6,000 years ago without the help of the industrial revolution, fossil fuels, or automobile emissions.
This new paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews finds Arctic sea ice extent and thickness was much less than present-day conditions and according to the authors,
“Arctic Ocean sea ice proxies generally suggest a reduction in sea ice during parts of the early and middle Holocene (∼6000–10,000 years Before the Present) compared to present day conditions.”
The authors show how 8 different proxy studies reveal extended periods lasting hundreds of years without perennial sea ice in the Arctic [ice-free conditions], and find solar insolation explains these changes. See figure 4 from the paper below.
The top graph shows simulated annual mean sea ice thickness [orange curve] was much less during the Holocene Climate Optimum ~13,000-6,000 years ago compared to the end of the 20th century at right side of graph. The bottom graph shows multiple proxies of sea ice with darker green indicating periods of less sea ice. Modern sea ice is at high levels in comparison to the rest of the Holocene.
Arctic Ocean perennial sea ice breakdown during the Early Holocene Insolation Maximum
Christian Stranne, Martin Jakobsson, Göran Björk
Arctic Ocean sea ice proxies generally suggest a reduction in sea ice during parts of the early and middle Holocene (∼6000–10,000 years Before the Present) compared to present day conditions. This sea ice minimum has been attributed to the northern hemisphere Early Holocene Insolation Maximum (EHIM) associated with Earth’s orbital cycles. Here we investigate the transient effect of insolation variations during the final part of the last glaciation and the Holocene by means of continuous climate simulations with the coupled atmosphere–sea ice–ocean column model CCAM. We show that the increased insolation during EHIM has the potential to push the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover into a regime dominated by seasonal ice, i.e. ice free summers. The strong sea ice thickness response is caused by the positive sea ice albedo feedback. Studies of the GRIP ice cores and high latitude North Atlantic sediment cores show that the Bølling–Allerød period (c. 12,700–14,700 years BP) was a climatically unstable period in the northern high latitudes and we speculate that this instability may be linked to dual stability modes of the Arctic sea ice cover characterized by e.g. transitions between periods with and without perennial sea ice cover.
h/t to The Hockey Schtick