As of today, 2016 has been declared the hottest year on record, seconded by 2015 and 2014. To make matters even worse, 16 of the 17 hottest years ever recorded have been in this century, showing just how much of an impact humans have on the planet. It is hard to believe that some people still do not believe in man made climate change. While it is true that 2016 was especially hot because of El Niño, that still does not explain 2015 or 2014.It is obvious that rising temperatures are due to man, so once again we find that it is imperative for the world to reduce global carbon emission. With carbon ppm on the rise, global warming is a slippery slope, and if we continue on the path we are heading on, we might not be able to return. The more the earth warms, the more environmental disasters take place, cost not only money, but even human lives.
With the new year comes new public policies. One major issue within the status quo is the drastic decline in bee populations. This is important because 1.4 billion jobs and 75% of all crops depend on pollinators like bees. Additionally the guardian finds that, " 20,000 species of bees are responsible for fertilizing more than 90% of the worlds 107 major crops" (1). Last year, the United Nations found that 40% of invertebrate pollinators - particularly bees- risk global extinction. This is why Europe is placing a ban on harmful pesticides that could be contributing to the decline in bee population. This ban is potentate in protecting Bees. Similar to a number of policies, Europe always seems to be a lot farther ahead than the US, and with this substantial change, one can only hope that it spreads to the US. Even though banning some pesticides won't save the Bee population, it is a step in the right direction that hopefully many will follow.
In 2016, record high levels of carbon dioxide were recorded in the atmosphere. The use of non-renewable resources is comparable to a ticking time bomb, sooner or later, we will run out of fossil fuels, but not before completely dissipating our earth. One of the most effective ways at reducing carbon emission would be switching to electric cars. It is estimated that if every gasoline powered car in the United States switched to electric, we would be reduce annual carbon output by 417 million tonnes. However, one such problem with this switch would be the 29% increase in energy demand. Unfortunately, this increase in energy consumption would be counterproductive toward reducing carbon discharge as 81% of our energy comes from fossil fuels. This means that in order to significantly diminish the amount of carbon in our atmosphere, we need to expedite the installation of alternative energy methods while simultaneously outsourcing traditional means of energy production. Currently, the price of electric cars is what prevents most people from making the switch. Fortunately, as more and more companies begin producing electric cars, parts will become more accessible, meaning that electric cars will affordable to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. It is much easier to prevent than to repair, and as we slide further down the hole of environmental decimation, preventative methods, even if as small as switching to an electric car, need to be taken in order to preserve our beautiful earth for subsequent generations.
(adapted from Haiku)
While the drought has gotten somwhat better, it is still extremely severe. The lack of snow pack made it hard to tell what season we were in without a calendar, even in January and February. Scientists have been studying the tree rings of blue oaks throughout the Sierra Nevada and California's Central Valley to find the precipitation levels and winter temperatures dating back to around 1500. Using this data and known correlations to snow pack levels, the scientists could say that the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada this winter is the lowest in 500 years. Knowing that this snow pack is extremely low, shows just how severe the drought is and further exemplifies the massive recent change in global climate. Sadly enough this finding is not too shocking. It does however, continue to paint the picture of man-made climate change and the terrible consequences it can have all around the globe. More water conservation methods need to be made in order to preserve the water we do get, but lets just hope that all the praying people have been doing really works.
Climate change continues worsen our earth, not only with the melting of glaciers, but with the increase in mehane released into the enviroment. A study conducted by the University of Washington found that warming ocean temperatures off of the coast of Washington have been releasing bubble plumes of methane that was once in an "ice" form a third of a mile below the surface. Luckily, the bubbles are at such a level before and after they release that they do not reach then surface very often. Unfortunately, this poses another problem. Marine microbes have been converting this methane into carbon dioxide, lowering the area's oxygen content and increasing acidity.
This finding correlates with many environmental scientists worries and hypotheses of the effects of a warming ocean. The components of these plumes are currently being tested in order to determine if they are in face from the ice-like methane. If so, this once again shows the dangers of climate change, and how quickly we must band together globally in order to slow or better stop its impacts.
Rising climate temperatures continue to have adverse effects on our environment. One example is rapid melting of our ice caps. East Antarctica is experiencing some of its worst melting in the last 5 years. The average ice sheet melts dramatically during the summer than reforms during the winter, however, the East Antarctica is supposed to be different. It is supposed to remain close to the same temperature (very cold) all year long. Unfortunately, scientists noticed giant craters in the ice and initially speculated it was because of meteors, however upon further investigation it was discovered that these were instead lakes, formed by the warming temperatures. This is particularly alarming because the East Antarctica is not supposed to really melt. Even more frightening, it was discovered in early December that we have lost, "3.76 million square kilometres of the stuff - more than the total area of India" as a result of temperatures rising close to 20 degrees *Celsius above average. It is impossible to deny the reality of climate change as more and more evidence surfaces, all a result of human exploitation.
Each year. climate change becomes worse and worse. With Co2 ppm on the rise and global tempatures on the rise, it is evident that something must be done. Thankfully China, the US, and many European countries have begun to take steps towards recovery. States like California have begun implimenting taxs on carbon, something European countries have been doing for half a decade, and China has also been making attempts to drop its carbon output. While this is tremedous news for the Enviroment and Earths inhabitants, we are still struggling to progress. It was reported yesterday that the US, China, and the EU failed to come to an agreement on lowering the tariff on "enviromental goods" such as solar panels and LED lightbulbs. Lower the tariff is important for it will facilitate green growth. When things cost less, people are more inclined to buy them. This is on of the reasons that electric cars are still low in ownership (yet rising). By making green goods cheaper, we incentivise helping the enviroment. Right before the meeting, China changed its list of items, that had not been properly reviewed. This could be China attempting to "slip one by us", which is why the US and EU declined. In order to foster societal progression in terms protecting the Enviroment, we must first decrease the price of enviromentally friendly goods while incentivsing their purchase and usage.
Since man can remember, the Northwest passage has been an un-navigable area between the north pole, Greenland, and Canada. However, in light of the rising global temperatures, a lot of that ice that once made the Northwest passage to difficult to sail, has begun to completely dissipate. In fact, some have even begun to make the journey through the passage for the first time in at least the last 400 years, if not more. Sea ice in the northwest passage is currently at its second lowest level, which is a clear indicator of the effects of global warming. The National Snow and Ice Data center found that, "All told, the amount of missing Arctic sea ice was nearly 1 million square miles below the 1979 to 2000 average. In other words, the Arctic was missing enough ice to cover the states of Alaska and Texas combined"(NSIDC 1). Not only does Ice Melting increase aid in increasing global temperatures, but it decreases the salinity in oceans which upsets the ecosystems inside those oceans who are not adapted to lower levels of salt. Additionally, now that this section of the ocean is free to travel, some cruise lines have already begun to book trips. One ship recently took 1,000 people through the passage. This is inherently bad because cruise ships take a huge tole on the environment and are basically traveling garbage dumpers. We need to change our ways in order to prevent, or at the very least, slow down climate change or our children might not have somewhere to live.
California is in one of its worst droughts, and we are no where near the end. It is predicted that if we had known how severe the drought was going to be, we could have better prepared for it, lessening its impact. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that so far the drought has cost California around 30 billion dollars. In a recent study conducted by the National Science Foundation, monitoring snow melts and soil moisture aid in predicting droughts months in advance. Anjuli Bamzai supports this when stating, "Advance knowledge of a drought even a month or two ahead of time can greatly minimize the effects on society". Flash droughts have proven to be devastating to the regions they hits, and through extensive monitoring and can be prevented. For example, California's drought is partially a cause of a high pressure system off of the west coast. Using this information, one can see that California would not be getting any storms, meaning no rain. In conclusion, as we advance our methods of predicting natural disasters, we will be in turn saving money and lives.
Within the last couple years, two parts of the world have experienced some unusually cold years. Florida and China both saw some of their lowest temperatures within recent years, altering the environment for species. It was proven that temperate wildlife tend to be able to adapt better to this altercation of weather than that of tropical wildlife. In Florida, tropical fish declined along with crocodile, while more temperate fish and alligators remained unchanged. These cold spells can likely be attributed to man made climate change for these obscure weather patterns do not just occur randomly. These spells have even taken a toll on one of Florida's largest economic factors, the fishing industry. Numerous species saw high mortality rates during the cold spells,yet increased in the years to follow. However, this was not the case for all species. Many non-native species took up to five years (and counting) to recover, while some have yet to even start. This exemplifies the need to awareness and action against man made climate change.