An alarming new study finds that the automobile you're driving is having some major impacts on the Earth.
We don’t think at all about what impact the car we’re driving has on the world behind us when we get behind the wheel, but a new study has made some calculations about the real effects from carbon emissions from our vehicles that present some sobering realities. Sea ice is vanishing from the Arctic Ocean at an astonishing rate, and it may be totally gone by 2050, and scientists blame all the carbon dioxide we emit from a variety of sources, particularly vehicles.
The study calculates that the impact of just one car is not trivial: after 2,433 miles of driving, or a cross-country trip from Las Vegas to D.C., the car produces a metric ton of CO2 emissions, and in 75 miles of driving it can melt a square foot of ice.
The paper, ,which was published this week in the journal Science, shows just how much damage we are really doing to our Earth by driving cars that run on fossil fuels, and the real impact it’s having on the sea ice that species like polar bears rely on.
“Arctic sea ice is retreating rapidly, raising prospects of a future ice-free Arctic Ocean during summer,” the paper’s abstract states. “Since climate-model simulations of the sea-ice loss differ substantially, we here use a robust linear relationship between monthly-mean September sea-ice area and cumulative CO2 emissions to infer the future evolution of Arctic summer sea ice directly from the observational record. The observed linear relationship implies a sustained loss of 3 ± 0.3 m2 of September sea-ice area per metric ton of CO2 emission. Based on this sensitivity, Arctic sea-ice will be lost throughout September for an additional 1000 Gt of CO2 emissions. Most models show a lower sensitivity, which is possibly linked to an underestimation of the modeled increase in incoming longwave radiation and of the modeled Transient Climate Response.”