August 31, 2021
It is no shock to anyone that the Earth is going through some changes. In 2021 alone, there have been eight weather/climate disasters; this does not include Hurricane Ida, which is currently making its way through the Louisiana and Mississippi area. From those eight natural catastrophes, there has been over $8 billion worth of damage done.
Since 2000, 98 percent of the Earth’s surface has been impacted by temperature increases. This is leading to longer and hotter heat waves, more droughts, heavier rainfall and even more hurricanes.
For the past 30 years, there has been a decrease of the arctic sea ice. Per decade, there has been an average 3.2% reduction of the sea ice. Not only does this temperature inflation decrease the volume of the sea ice, it also restricts the re-growth of the ice, making the decimation of the arctic come even sooner.
The amount of heat that the top layer of most major oceans absorb has also significantly increased. This leads to coral reef damage, threatens marine ecosystems and disrupts global fisheries. A change in heat content can also alter patterns of ocean circulation, which can point to far-reaching effects on global climate conditions. This includes changes to the outcome and pattern of meteorological events, such as tropical storms and temperatures in the northern Atlantic region.
The air temperature over the ocean has also increased; this leads to escalated evaporation. More water vapor in the air contributes to more warming, and it also acts as fuel for hurricanes.
Sea surface temperatures have had a momentous increase, and are actually at their highest levels within the last 30 years of being measured. From 1901 through 2015, sea surface temperatures have risen at an average rate of 0.13°F per decade. They are expected to continue to accelerate.
Sea levels have been rising at a rate of 0.04 to 0.1 inches per year since 1900. The growth is due to higher sea water temperatures and the added water from melted land ice, such as the glaciers in the northern Atlantic region.
Higher sea levels could lead to permanently flooded areas, increased seasonal floods and worse and higher storm surges. It also threatens freshwater supplies and ecosystem services, such as natural water filtration and human coastal infrastructure.
Because of the increased measurements of water vapor in the air, humidity levels are now notably higher. Due to water vapor being categorized as a greenhouse gas, this development causes additional warming.
The warming of the Earth seems to be concentrated more in the lower levels of the atmosphere, called the troposphere. This is the layer where people live, where weather occurs and where planes fly. It is warming at a rapid rate due to the release of emissions from burning oil, natural gas and coal.
It is important that the Earth is treated properly and taken care of. There has already been a tremendous decrease in its longevity, due to the damage that greenhouse gases and their emissions have caused.
There are many different ways to help: always remember to recycle all plastic and paper items, try to reduce the amount of time spent in the shower, and be conscious of the products and items purchased. Reducing personal carbon footprint will help extend the Earth’s life.