Melting glaciers 'threaten UK'

Melting ice in the Arctic could end up costing Britain billions of pounds. Leading scientists have told ITV News that the country needs to prepare now for the increased threat of flooding caused by rising sea levels.

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Last year saw record low in Arctic sea ice

Arctic sea ice fluctuates as it melts in the summer months and freezes in the winter, but since about 2007 the area covered by sea ice has reduced rapidly.

Last September, the area covered by Arctic ice shrunk to just 1.32 million square miles - the lowest on record.

The image below compares the ice extent last September to the average for this time of year seen over the last three decades.

White area shows ice coverage at its lowest ever level in September 2012. Yellow shows the average ice coverage over the past 30 years. Credit: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio

These images show a comparison of the perennial Arctic sea ice and the first-year sea ice in 2012.

Bright white shows perennial sea ice; larger light blue area shows winter sea ince Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Between 70% and 75% of ice in the Arctic is now thought to be 'first-year' ice, which is less than a year old. In the past, three quarters was made up of 'multi-year ice' which is older and much thicker.

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