One of the indisputable facts of climate change is the rapid melting of the Arctic. Since 1979, satellites have captured images that show the sea ice disappearing right before our eyes.
Every decade since 1979, between 173,000 and 196,000 square miles of ice have disappeared—a loss larger than the state of California. In the southern parts of the Arctic, it’s disappearing even faster—between 280,000 square miles (California plus Arizona) and 410,000 square miles (California, Arizona and Colorado) per decade.
This graphic, by Paul Horn, uses satellite images from 1979 and 2012, as well as a projection for 2045 created by Cecilia Bitz, a physicist who studies sea ice and does climate modeling at the University of Washington. Bitz based her projection on six different models.
The graphic is part of a new ICN ebook, Meltdown: Terror at the Top of the World, a riveting tale about seven American hikers who went on a wilderness adventure into Canada’s melting Arctic tundra—polar bear country—and came back with a harrowing tale.