Global Warming

Individual Effect on Arctic Melt

With Arctic sea ice shrinking to historically low levels this year, climate and ice scientists have figured out a way to estimate just how much each of us is contributing to the polar melt. Researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Meteorology and the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre determined that each passenger on a round-trip flight from Europe to New York is responsible for about a ton of carbon dioxide emissions, which shrinks the polar ice cap coverage by about 32 square feet.

Driving a gasoline-fuelled car 2,500 miles has the same impact.

In September, the Arctic sea ice extent dwindled to only 1.6 million square miles, matching 2007 as the second smallest on record.

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