Portland temperatures topped 90F on Monday reminding us that summer is, if not yet here officially, right around the corner. And summer brings big questions for climate scientists like, “how much ice will remain in the Arctic when summer is over?”
As these some recent articles make clear, this past winter was a bad one for the Arctic so sea ice is already weakened, and to make things worse, rising CO2 emissions spell even more trouble:
- Sea ice shrinks in step with carbon emissions (W. Cornwall, Science, 4 Nov 2016, p. 533)
- Observed Arctic sea-ice loss directly follows anthropogenic CO2 emission (D. Notz & J. Stroeve, Science, 3 Nov 2016, p.
- Arctic’s winter sea ice drops to its lowest recorded level (H. Fountain, NY Times, 22 Mar 2017)
- Does the disappearance of sea ice matter? (J. Gertner, NY Times, 29 Jul 2016)
If you don’t have time to read these articles, these quotes from the Cornwall article puts the American lifestyle in perspective,
“The jet fuel you burned on that flight from New York City to London? Say goodbye to 1 square meter of Arctic sea ice. … The average annual carbon emissions from a U.S. family of four would claim nearly 200 square meters of sea ice. Over 3 decades, that family would be responsible for destroying more than an American football field’s worth of ice … Each person in the United States is responsible for the destruction of 10 times as much ice each year as someone in India.”