Earlier this month—on 17 March—the extent of Arctic sea ice peaked at nearly 15 million square kilometers, covering an area roughly twice the size of Australia. That may seem like a lot of ice, but this year’s peak is the second lowest on record, according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center. Scientists have used satellites to measure the extent of Arctic sea ice for the past 39 years. As it stands, 2017 had the lowest amount of Arctic sea ice on record, followed by 2018, 2016, and 2015.
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