How much ice did Arctic sea lose?

Grade level:  5th – 6th grades

Skills: Percent of a Number

Related environmental issues: Climate change

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported that Arctic sea ice extent hit a record low in November 2016 due to high air temperatures and a warm ocean.

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  1. The average size of Arctic sea ice extent in November was 11 million square kilometers during 1981 and 2010.  The size of Arctic sea ice extent in November 2016 was 1.95 million square kilometers smaller than the average size during 1981 and 2010. What was the size of Arctic sea ice extent in November 2016?
  2. What percent is the Arctic sea ice extent in November 2016 smaller than the average size during 1981 and 2010?  Round to the nearest tenth if necessary.

Sources: National Snow and Ice Data Center

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Answer keys

  1. 9.05 million square kilometers (11 – 1.95 = 9.05)
  2. 17.7% (1.95 / 11 x 100= 17.727)