Carcass of a gigantic sperm whale in eastern England washed ashore. Could it be a victim of rising ocean temperatures?
Recent studies have shown the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, and the top four in the past four years, stressing the fact that in the past century the average temperature of the Earth has risen by 1.8°F.
Over the next 100 years, scientists have projected another alarming 0.5 to 8.6°F rise in the temperature.
Official documents suggest the cause of this temperature change is human activities that have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases – like methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases — into the atmosphere.
The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy. Results of this global warming include rising ocean temperatures, a more acidic ocean, melting ice caps, and rising sea levels.
Scientists are saying the negative consequences of human-driven climate change will continue to expedite disastrous effects: seas continue to rise, inundating and eliminating nesting beaches and foraging habitat for marine wildlife; warming seas are driving ocean animals further north, leading to cold stunning and further reducing sea turtle hatchling success; and the effects of increasing ocean acidification will become more deadly to all marine life.
They add human-driven climate change has become and is a prime force of biodiversity crash and species extinction — up to one million species may go extinct by the end of the century.
We ask: What does global warming have to do with severe weather, like storms, heat waves, droughts, and strong typhoons as those that pound the Philippines annually?
But there are good signs that should boost our confidence people are attaining various levels of awareness in the different continents, plus the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement, the international treaty to combat climate change.
All this while we suffer from the effects of a slowly deteriorating environment.
Within hours of becoming president in January, Joe Biden moved to recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement, a year after the United States formally withdrew from the Paris deal, despite being the world’s second largest producer of greenhouse gases behind China.
We note that a rise in global temperatures increases the severity and likelihood of storms, floods, wildfires, droughts, and heat waves.
In a warmer climate, such as the Philippines – a tropical land with a “tropical rainforest climate” rich with biodiversities and mountainous terrain – the atmosphere can collect, retain, and drop more water, leading to changing precipitation patterns.
Increased precipitation can help support agriculture, but precipitation is increasingly coming in the form of more intense single-day storms, which, according to experts, damage property, infrastructure, and lead to loss of life in impacted areas.
For instance, over the past few decades, the United States has experienced more heat waves and fewer cold waves.
Since the 1960s, the length of the heat wave season has increased in many cities by more than 40 days. Today, major US cities average more than six heat waves per year, while in the 1960s, the average was two heat waves per year.
Global warming, say scientists, also results in warmer sea surface temperatures because the majority of the heat trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean.
Because of human-caused global warming, it is expected that the rainfall rates from typhoons, at least in the Philippines, will increase, their intensity will increase, and the proportion of storms that reach a Category 4 or 5 level will also increase.
While it is difficult for researchers to attribute a specific weather event to global warming, climate scientists are firm that higher average global temperatures are making extreme weather more likely and severe.
The United States, for instance, is seeing a clear increase in the number of destructive weather and climate disasters combined with increased development in coastal and river floodplains – instance, more people and infrastructure in these areas to be impacted.
Researchers have released data that the January 2021 global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.80°C (1.44°F) above the 20th century average and ranked as the seventh warmest January in the 142-year global records.
With a slightly cool start to the year, there is only a 2.9 percent chance of 2021 ending as the warmest year on record.
Increased heat, drought and insect outbreaks, all linked to climate change, have increased wildfires.
Declining water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, health impacts in cities due to heat, and flooding as well as erosion in coastal areas are added to concerns.
What are the effects of climate change?
- rising maximum temperatures.
- rising minimum temperatures.
- rising sea levels.
- higher ocean temperatures.
- an increase in heavy precipitation (heavy rain and hail)
- shrinking glaciers.
- thawing permafrost.
Nearly glossed over is that human health is vulnerable to climate change. The changing environment, according to experts, is expected to cause more heat stress, an increase in waterborne diseases, poor air quality, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Extreme weather events can compound many of these health threats.
There is this question: Are humans the main cause of global warming?
Climate scientists say humans cause climate change.
Specifically, the evidence shows that certain heat-trapping gases, like carbon dioxide, are warming the world – and that we release those gases when we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.
We should take positive steps. (AI/MTVN)