Global warming is threatening to strangle and suffocate humanity and the planet earth real soon. And if you are one of those global warming naysayers, then here is a report showing that 2016 is likely to be the hottest year on record, increasing 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial averages. Yes, it is that hot, and the situation only getting worse!
This rise in temperature also means that we are now scaringly close to the 2.7-degree-Fahrenheit (1.5-degree-Celsius) limit set by international policymakers for global warming. And the most disturbing part of it all, we are practically doing nothing to stop the crisis. Ideally, even if carbon emissions dropped to zero tomorrow, the human race would still be suffering the effects of climate change for centuries. But we all know the deadly emissions aren’t going to stop tomorrow, or anytime soon for that matter.
So whether we “believe” in climate change or not, within 100 years or even less human beings will have to evolve in order to brace the drastic effects of global warming and then survive them. And if there is any hope of survival, we need to adapt quickly while stemming the flow of pollutants into our atmosphere.
According to the experts, the goal of 1.5-degree [2.7-degree F] target will be crossed as soon as 2030, which should depict the gravity of the situation.
Expert though also give hope that if we consciously try to limit our carbon footprint, the UN set temperature rise limit of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels can be avoided.
So in the “best case scenario” that we somehow manage to stop the rise of temperature and remain between the two targets mentioned above, this would mean in 100 years from now we would still be on average 3 degrees higher than today.
Temperature average doesn’t give the entire picture. Taking individual areas into account, the temperature anomalies will wreck havoc with the ecosystem of the area and the temperatures are expected to swing wildly.
For example, we saw how the temperature in the Arctic region went one degree above freezing for a whole day. Though it might not seem to be a worry in California, but it is abnormally hot for Artic and its living species.
Related to the rise in temperatures is the fact that this year we saw lowest sea-ice extent, and this trend will become common as the years go on. We could see an entirely ice-free summer in Greenland as soon as 2050.
In 2012 we saw 97 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s surface melting, which was an occurrence never seen before during the last 100 years. It is supposed to be a once-in-a-century occurrence too, but with the global temperatures rising we now expect to see this kind of extreme surface melt every six years.
Although Antartica’s contribution towards ocean levels have been minimal, we are still projected to suffer from a rise of 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 metres) in sea level by 2100. To put things in perspective, a sea-level rise even below 3 feet (0.9 metres) is estimated to displace up to 4 million people living in low-lying areas around the globe.
Oceans not only will have less ice at the poles, but they will also continue to acidify in the tropics. Oceans absorb about a third of all carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing them to warm and become more acidic.
Besides the oceans, lands are also heating up and even if we stop all sorts of emissions, summers in the tropics could increase their extreme heat days by half after 2050. Farther north, up to 10 percent to 20 percent of the days per annum will be hot, spelling catastrophe.
And the tropics will bear the most brunt, suffering from unusually hot temperatures all summer long. In the already hot zones, 30 percent or more of the days will be now extraordinarily hot.
This undoubtedly will strain freshwater bodies, creating severe clean drinking water problems. A paper published in 2013, reported that the world could see more severe droughts more frequently, up to a damaging 10 percent increase. If no attention is given, climate change can cause severe drought in 40 percent of all land, which is double of what it is today.
In the next 100 years, we can face more extreme storm surges, wildfires, and heat waves across the globe. The extremity of El Niño should give you an idea of how dramatic and destructive natural forces are getting due to climate change.
And before we know it, we could be living in a “vastly different planet”, about as different as we are from the recent ice age. Urgent innovations and political/social awareness are required to retard the imminent doom coming in the shape of climate change.
Do you agree that we need to be proactive towards tackling this grave crisis? Comment below!