I haven’t read the paper (Observed Arctic sea-ice loss directly follows anthropogenic CO2 emission; Dirk Notz and Julienne Stroeve; Science 03 Nov 2016: DOI: 10.1126 / science.aag2345), of course, because it is paywalled. Curiously, it doesn’t seem to have made anyone else’s blog (a paper about sea ice in Science, and everyone ignores it like it was in poor taste or something?). But I found U.S. and German researchers calculate individual contribution to climate change which offers us the immortal quote
“The observed numbers are very simple,” Notz said. “For each ton of carbon dioxide that a person emits anywhere on this planet, 3 square meters of Arctic summer sea ice disappear.” “So far, climate change has often felt like a rather abstract notion,” Stroeve said. “Our results allow us to overcome this perception. For example, it is now straightforward to calculate that the carbon dioxide emissions for each seat on a return flight from, say, London to New York cause about 3 square meters of Arctic sea ice to disappear.”
The study also explains the linear relationship between CO2 emissions and sea ice loss. “Put simply, for each ton of carbon dioxide emission, the climate warms a little bit. To compensate for this warming, the sea ice edge moves northward to a region with less incoming solar radiation. This then causes the sea ice area to shrink. Simple geometric reasons cause these processes to combine to the observed linearity,” Notz said.
I’m delighted that it has all turned out to be so simple. Imagine all those poor fools who have worked so hard to understand climate all these years, and yet it turns out in the end to be a simple linear relationship between emitted CO2 and temperature; and then linear between temperature and sea ice. Duh. And how convenient that the sea ice “compensates” for the warming.
(Border of the Glacier Blanc, Ecrins)