Forces of Change

Was the Arctic in Your Backyard?

Throughout Earth’s history, Arctic ice cover has been greater, smaller, or even non-existent. It depends on how warm the climate was and how far—or if—glaciers extended from the north. During the last Ice Age, the southernmost extent of Arctic glaciers was a mere 240 km (150 mi) north of Washington, D.C.

Today the Arctic’s southernmost limits reach into the continents of Europe, Asia, and North America. It covers an area roughly the size of North America.

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