Arctic ice levels at all-time low

By Samantha Herbert, MSN News ©Beltra/Greenpeace
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Greenpeace calls on UN countries to unite and protect the Arctic after record low sea ice levels are recorded

See the latest pictures taken by Greenpeace in their Arctic expedition to measure sea and ice levels See gallery

They've launched a campaign to reduce the impact of climate change and halt the rush on oil drilling in the Arctic. The campaign includes a petition from which all the names will be printed on a flag and planted at the North Pole.

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A Greenpeace crew travelled to the Arctic for the annual ‘sea ice minimum’, the moment when the extent of the arctic sea is at its lowest

The crew travelled to witness the readings upon the iconic ship, the Arctic Sunrise.

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The reading which was taken this week gave the lowest ever recording

The National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) collected the figures which showed the Arctic sea ice levels reaching the lowest since records began.

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The data indicates that on September 16th Arctic ice extent covered 3.41 m km2 - a drop of at least 45% since records began in 1979

In the last 30 years it is claimed that three-quarters of the floating sea ice cover at the top of the world has been lost. The volume of that sea ice wasmeasured by satellites this week, and the results show the cover has shrunk so fast that scientists say it's now in a 'death spiral'.

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According to estimates based on this latest reading, the arctic could now be ice free in summer within the next decade

This is a major concern due to the huge part Arctic ice plays in the earth's weather system. The ice at the top of the world reflects much of the sun's heat back into space and keeps our whole planet cool.

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The Greenpeace crew made the symbolic heart, to represent the Arctic as the heart of the earth which regulates weather systems and pumps ocean currents around the world

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This comes at the same time as British MPs call for drilling in the Arctic to be halted until safety is improved, and the full environmental impact is properly understood

MPs also called for an internationally recognised nature sanctuary to be established to protect at least part of the Arctic before any more exploration takes place.

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Joan Walley MP, chairman of the environmental audit committee said "The shocking speed at which the Arctic sea ice is melting should be a wake-up call to the world that we need to phase out fossil fuels fast"

The Committee reported that the widely held view that the Arctic is not at immediate risk needs to be reviewed.