WAN’S South African Correspondent Goes In-Depth About Climate Change In Next Installment Of His “Environment In Crisis” Series

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Climate Change

The mere fact that 195 countries saw it fit to come together and sign the Paris Agreement in unanimous support of implementing a collaborative global response to climate change should say a lot.

Sadly, though, there are many skeptics out there who still seem to think that climate change is some non-existent concept conjured up by scientists and researchers.

But climate change, according to the world’s population, is only considered the third most serious issue facing the world, falling behind international terrorism, poverty, hunger, and lack of drinking water.

So, to paint a clearer picture for those still not quite convinced, let’s start with facts; the irrefutable evidence provided by years of research and studies that no skeptic could argue.

1. Temperatures around the world have been breaking records – FACT.

According to NASA research analysts, who are considered pretty smart and spend their days studying historical and current climate trends and patterns, most of the warming that the earth has experienced has occurred over the past 35 years. Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have been documented since 2001. Further, not only was 2016 the warmest year ever on record but eight of the 12 months of the calendar year, January through September, with the exception of June, were the warmest on record for those respective months.

2. Our ice sheets and glaciers are shrinking – FACT. 

NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment data revealed that Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have reduced in size and mass. The experiment showed a reduction of Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets by approximately 150 – 250 cubic kilometers and 152 cubic kilometers (roughly 30-60 cubic miles and 36 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 – 2006 and 2002 – 2005 respectively.

3. Sea levels are rising – FACT.

The rising of sea levels is the natural response to the shrinking of ice sheets and glaciers. The primary reason for the rise in sea levels is the addition of the water from melting ice sheets and glaciers, as well as the expansion of seawater as it warms. According to NASA, whose name will frequently appear in the ‘Environment in Crisis’ series as they have been doing extensive research over the past 60 years, ocean levels are currently rising at their fastest rate in more than 2,000 years. In July 2017, a 5,800 square kilometer section of ice separated from the monstrous Larson C ice shelf into the ocean. This iceberg is four times the size of London. According to researchers, this rise in sea level will see global flooding triple by the year 2030, equating to economic costs of flooding rising to around $400 billion.

There are other major contributing factors towards climate change, all of which have been thoroughly documented by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) among others organizations. This has been done with the help of earth-orbiting satellites and technological advances allowing scientists to study and interpret research, feedback, and imaging from vast quantities of data. Ice cores that were taken from Greenland and Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers showed that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels.

To substantiate this, evidence can also be found in nature such as tree rings, ocean and rock sediment, coral reef, layers of sedimentary rock, and in the natural habitats of wildlife such as polar bears. All of which reveal that current global warming is occurring roughly 10 times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.

Other signs of global warming, all substantiated by the above mentioned scientific research, include warming oceans, glacial retreat, and decreased global snow cover particularly prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere.

Ocean acidification has increased by as much as 30% since the beginning of the industrial revolution; this increase has been attributed to the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and this excess being absorbed into the oceans.

Two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef have been damaged by ‘coral bleaching’ as a result of climate change. This is a process where algae, living within the coral tissue, is forced out due to an increase in water temperature, which, in turn, causes the coral to lose their vibrant color.

There are more greenhouse gases in our atmosphere than any other time in human history which formed the basis of an announcement by the World Meteorological Organization through their annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

All of this suggests that we are headed towards a catastrophic crisis that will affect the well-being of all man and animal kind far worse than any terrorist attack will.

Poverty and lack of drinking water are often the results of poorly managed government funds, particularly in Africa, where world aid funding is misappropriated and rarely sees its intended end.

As with all of my articles, I promote readers to become mindful of their place on this planet and to focus on what they are doing that might negatively harm the environment, and what can be done to remedy those actions.

I encourage each one of you to become informed on the intricacies of Global Warming and in doing so, inform others as well as take personal action.

It is time to be accountable and make positive change!

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