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Global warming shrinks Arctic sea ice to near-record level

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Melting Arctic sea ice
Melting Arctic sea ice   -   Copyright  ASSOCIATED PRESS / GREENPEACE
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US scientists are raising the alarm over the level of ice in the Arctic Ocean, which has dropped to its second-ever lowest level.

This year's melt is second only to 2012, when the ice shrank to 3.4 million square kilometres, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which has been keeping satellite records since 1979.

Data centre director Mark Serreze said a Siberian heatwave last spring and a natural Arctic climate phenomenon were at play, as well as the warming from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.

He says there was no ignoring the fact that the planet is seeing climate change at work.

"When you combine what's happening in the Arctic to what we're seeing around the planet today -massive forest fires in California, hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic, it's impossible to deny climate change is here and it's real," he told Euronews.

And the situation is set to become even more serious. Researchers reported in Nature Climate Change believe the Arctic could see it's first ice-free summer as early as 2035.