Effects of global warming could care less about political viewpoints, so you who still believe the earth is flat … feel free to click off. Not to be belligerent, but nothing I can say will alter your mind one iota and people (99% of the peoples of the world) who do believe in the catastrophic consequences awaiting us because of our ignorance and mistreatment of our environment, aren’t concerned about trying to enlighten you. Keep your head in the sand until the ocean covers you. Meanwhile we’re going to look at the effects of global warming on our planet, and subsequently ourselves.
Just the Facts Sir
The facts are the entire planet from the North Pole to the South Pole is warming. Just since 1906, the global average surface temperature has increased between 1.1 and 1.6 degrees F (0.6 to 0.9 C). That may not sound like a large increase, but consider it had taken thousands of years for the temperature to rise hardly any at all, but in a little over 100 years it has exploded, even the staunchest skeptic should view this as something might not be right. Don’t believe scientific theories, OK, believe your eyes? The increased heat is melting glaciers millions of years old and sea ice, which is effecting weather patterns. Just like the proverbial canary in the mine, animals are on the move abandoning historic hunting, breeding and resting grounds. Let’s take a stroll down Logic lane, turn onto What’s in Front of You Avenue, possibly be forced to detour around It’s Happen Before street and end hopefully end up on Save the Planet Plaza.
Let’s begin our journey at a place nobody can dispute is incurring a monumental shift in stability, the Glaciers. Standing on the deck of a luxury liner watching an ice glacier fracture, then split and fall off the glacier body, falling with a thunderous splash into the sea is an awesome sight to behold. Onlookers are thrilled to see the spectacle of Nature’s power not realizing they should be horrified at witnessing Natures’ demise and another step closer to the possibly of human extinction. They don’t realize they just witnessed millions of gallons of water falling into an already rising ocean, and it has to go somewhere. It has … Australia, Hawaii,Thailand and all other countries across the world with a coastline just lost 1/millionth of their country reclaimed by the sea.
The earth’s polar regions are particularly vulnerable to a warming atmosphere as there is nothing to deflect or alter the effects of increasing temperatures, just ice. The Arctic regions’ temperatures are rising at double the rate of the rest of the world, and the ice sheets are melting at an accelerated rate. Imagine if you will, a frozen ice tray in your freezer. Unplug the refrigerator and wait an hour to open. You’ll probably notice the lack of cold air hitting you in the face as temperatures rise without power to generate cold air. Tapping the ice tray with your finger you’ll notice a slight give sensation. Repeat this over several hours and the frozen ice tray will develop a layer of water over the ice, then will become slushy… then seemingly out of nowhere become pure liquid. This elementary explanation is exactly what’s occurring on both poles. The horrifying thought is unlike the refrigerator that can be plugged back in and refreeze the ice, glacier melting is irreversible. You can’t refreeze the ice, only attempt to not melt anymore.
I’m sorry, but I must vent a bit. Our leader(s) and I use that term with a vulgar intent, has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the only country to do so, because supposedly it would cost America millions of dollars to comply with its obligations. There are arguments to the contrary, but let’s say I concede that as fact. Consensus of world experts estimate if the stem of melting is not stopped by 2100 the oceans will be four (4) feet higher than they are now. Should that be half way accurate, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, and other countless coastal cities will become flooded and uninhabitable. The only way to maintain the cities is to somehow put a barrier between them and the ocean. Know how many Trillions and Trillions of dollars that would cost even if doable? But … what do I know?
Acidic Oceans – What goes up … must come down
The rising sea levels are not our only concern. We continue to pump tons of excess emissions into the air and it will not stay airborne forever, it will eventually fall back onto the earth and into the oceans. This fallout is making our oceans more acidic and as this acidification accelerates the environmental changes it creates threatens underwater sea life. Particularly hit hard are creatures with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons like mollusks, crabs, corals, oysters and lobsters. A 2015 study by the Pacific Northwest Oyster industry blamed acidic conditions for a $110 million loss in harvest. It’s only a matter of time the yearly $1 billion dollar fishing industry will also be negatively effected.
How is global warming creating extreme weather?
The facts are indisputable, the oceans’ temperatures are becoming too warm, which may be great for the vacationer on a sunny tropical beach, but potentially catastrophic for the rest of the world. Without a science lesson, simply put, hurricanes derive their power from the oceans, and the warmer the water the greater intensity a hurricane becomes. Scientist have sounded an alarm about the frequency and increased destructive capability of North Atlantic hurricanes. There is little doubt in the meteorology world that global warming is the direct cause of a once category 3 hurricane, now becoming a category 4, which is terrifying when the differences of destructive capabilities are understood.
In reply to the nay Sayers and the “It costs too much” group. The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration clearly documents that weather related catastrophes, floods, wildfires and drought from the years 1980 to 2010 averaged $5.2 billion dollars in destructive costs. The years 2011 to 2015 the annual average loss was $10.8 billion. In other words, the costs to rebuild after a natural disaster is adjusted for inflation, thus $1 in 1980 equals $1 in 2015 eliminating the increase in costs being attributed to labor and material costs. Therefore, the only other option to explain the two fold increase in cost must be attributed to increased amount of damage caused by each event. The events are becoming more powerful and destructive due to global warming.
Let’s Start Listing Some of the Ill-Effects
Irregular weather patterns have begun to pose a problem. Increased precipitation in the form of rainfall in polar and sub-polar regions has raised a red flag, as global warming increases the more evaporation of the ice in the polar regions, resulting in more rainfall. A viscous cycle you may say. The problem is native vegetation and animals can’t adapt to the quickly changing environmental conditions, plants are dying and animals are migrating to other food supplies. The entire ecosystem is being destroyed and we know from experience that creates a ripple effect.
Drought periods have not only increased, but are also becoming more severe. A prime example close to home is the drought California and the western United States is mired in. Drought conditions have turned forests into tinder boxes where forest fires have devoured entire mountain ranges of trees resulting in the destruction of millions of trees throughout the Colorado Rockies. (supply & demand, wood costs more, housing costs more)
The effects are not limited to the United States. Large scale evaporation has created hellish conditions in many African nations resulting in millions starving to death. The Quelccaya ice cap located in Peru is melting and evaporating at a rate that projects it will no longer exist by 2100. Hundreds of thousands of people stand to lose their only source of drinking water, as well as a power source for producing electricity. An entire culture could be lost.
Wildlife extinction rates are skyrocketing. If you believe in evolution, Darwin claims animals change and adapt to environmental change in order to survive. Non-evolution believers will concede God placed these creatures where he did in order to survive in their environment. Same ending, different paths. In any event its accepted by everyone nature can not turn on a dime. The 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change study clearly shows vertebrate species of animals, those with a backbone, like fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than should be occurring. This is directly linked to climate change, pollution and deforestation.
Diseases will become more prevalent. As temperatures rise and rainfall increases it creates an ideal environment for waterborne diseases to explode. Two such killers are malaria and the resurgence of the Zika virus, both carried and transmitted by mosquitoes. The intensity of heat waves will increase as the cold climates decline and cases of heat related deaths and diseases will increase.
Agriculture is at the mercy of global warming. Thus far, in modern agricultural countries like the United States, modern farming techniques and equipment has kept the effects at a minimum, but as the climate continues to change technology will not be able to keep up. Plants are the anchor in our links of food supply. Crops fail, herded animals, like cattle and sheep starve and since we’ve already destroyed the oceans, fish are in short supply and will be quickly eradicated. Economic collapse will be immediate, starvation will be agonizingly slow.
Health risks created by decreasing air quality will have a devastating effect on people, especially the elderly and those already suffering respiratory problems. The trapped carbon monoxide in the atmosphere will create a ground level ozone which will elevate pollution and smog levels to dangerous levels, deadly for some people. We have proof, through experience, that this type of air quality condition is linked to higher hospital admissions, higher death rates from people suffering cardiac or pulmonary disease, and for hay fever suffers, the increased airborne pollen will make life miserable. As a footnote to the “It cost too much” group, it is estimated the U.S. is expected to spend $60 billion for respiratory diseases and symptoms treatments.
Moral of the Story
According to the National Climate Assessment and the entire scientific community, minus those being paid by Fox news and the Republican party … oops … sorry about that … human influences are the number one and most serious contributor to global warming. The evidence is black and white. The time period of 2000 to 2009 was the hottest decade in the past 1300 years. Thirteen hundred years ago the Chinese had just invented gunpowder and the world was still considered flat.
Curbing dangerous emissions and the usage of alternatives to fossil fuels must be undertaken with the zeal Americans bring in the New Year. Look I get it. Coal miners don’t want to lose their jobs. As an autoworker I felt the same about robotics infiltrating my world and taking our jobs. I still hate foreign cars, but it is what it is. Get used to it and adjust.
The entire thing is so overwhelming. How can one person have any effect? A year ago I would have agreed with that feeling, but United States newly elected dictator … damn … I did it again … proves 1 person can have a dramatic effect. Unfortunately it goes for negatively as well as positively.