The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) found that Arctic sea ice hit a record low this winter, reported The Huffington Post. This finding is considered a new sign of long-term climate change.

“This year’s maximum ice extent was the lowest in the satellite record, with below-average ice conditions everywhere in the Labrador Sea and Davis Strait,” said an NSIDC statement.

The NSIDC has kept satellite records of Arctic sea ice since 1979. On February 25, Arctic sea ice reached its maximum area of 14.54 million sq kms. That amount is 1.1 million sq kms smaller than the 1981-2010 average. The shrinkage paints a grim outlook for climate scientists around the world.

Arctic sea ice has decreased 3.8 percent every decade since 1979. Climate scientists with the United Nations believe that summer sea ice could completely vanish by the second half of this century. They have linked this decrease in sea ice to climate change.

“This new data on sea ice loss sends a clear message to the global community that the Arctic is unraveling, warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet,” said Rafe Pomerance of the environmental group, Arctic 21.

In the last decade, each year has gotten progressively hotter than the year before. The U.N. World Meteorological Organization found that 2014 was the hottest year on record since the 19th century.

The planet is in a dire situation. Years ago, it wasn’t exactly clear what the immediate consequences of climate change would be. However, recent research indicates that the effects of climate change will begin their havoc on the planet as early as this century.