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This is a graph of the minimum Arctic sea ice extent in September of each year from 1979 to 2016. The horizontal axis is year from 1975 to 2020 and there are ticks every 5 years. The vertical axis is ice extent in millions of square kilometres: the minimum is 3 million square km, the maximum is 9 million square km, and there are ticks every 1 million square km. The first data point is in 1979 and shows that for this year the minimum extent of Arctic sea ice in September was 7.2 million square km. There are points every year after this until 2016. Despite some variability, the general trend over the annual measurements is downwards, decreasing to 4.7 million square km in 2016. The lowest value is 3.6 million square km in 2012. A line of best fit is shown in orange through the points.

 5.1 Melting ice caps and sea ice extent