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Each one of us is responsible for decline in Arctic sea ice cover

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A new study has shown that each one of us on planet Earth is responsible for the decline in the Arctic summer sea ice cover. The study is published in journal Science.

Max Planck Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology and colleagues at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre have for the first time provided us with individual contribution to the global climate change as well as the decline in Arctic sea ice. According to the study, for each tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) we emit, as much as three square metres of Arctic summer sea ice disappear.

Scientists say that the declining ice levels in the Arctic are a direct proof that climate change is indeed happening and over the last four decades, the sea ice cover at the North Pole has shrunk by more than half. Scientists have also predicted that if the current levels of emissions continue, the remaining half might be gone by mid-century.

Researchers have also concluded in the study that the two degrees Celsius global warming target that has been agreed upon in the most recent UN Climate Conference isn’t enough and that these levels of temperatures will effectively cause a complete loss of sea ice in the Arctic.

There have been studies that have suggested that climate models aren’t able to precisely estimate the loss of Arctic sea ice and that’s why models might not the be correct tools to quantify the loss and the future evolution of the sea ice cover. To cater to this issue, researchers have derived the future evolution of Arctic summer sea ice directly from the observational record.

To derive this, researchers examined the link between CO2 emissions and the area of Arctic summer sea ice, and found that there is a linear relationship between the two. For each tonne of carbon dioxide that a person emits anywhere on this planet, three square metres of Arctic summer sea ice is lost, the authors note.