The global climate is changing, at least in part because of humanity’s impact on the planet. This is an irrefutable fact. But how is it changing? After all, it’s much more complicated than just the old-fashioned term ‘global warming.’ Here we take a look at three of the major ways that the climate is changing on our planet
Temperature: Though the term global warming has been phased out of the discussion involving climate change, it simply is a fact that the world’s average temperature is rising. The average temperature year-round on the planet has risen by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, with two thirds of that increase coming in the past 50 years. Though that may not seem like much, it is. After all, the global temperature was only five degrees lower the last time North America was covered by ice. 18 of the 19 hottest years on record have occurred in the 21st century, with the trend lines only going up.
Water: As we have already begun to see, the polar ice caps are melting and increasing flooding to low-lying areas. This is put on display in natural disasters like the 2017 floods in South East Asia. On the other side, the increased temperatures are dying up water tables from India to East Africa, causing droughts that can devastate the population. We are left in a horrible seeming paradox, with arable land diminishing and flooding increasing. We must both protect our supplies of fresh water and hold back the rising tides of the ocean.
Disasters: Although Mother Nature is perfectly able to cause natural disasters on her own, humanity’s influence in increasing the number and the ferocity of these disasters is clear. Higher sea levels mean that flooding caused by hurricanes and monsoons is greater and higher ocean temperatures give rise to more of these extreme weather events. Higher temperatures contribute to worse droughts and rampaging wildfires. It is obviously impossible to eliminate natural disasters, but we should be finding ways to mitigate them, not to increase their devastation.
The Earth’s climate is changing, impacted by the activity of humanity. It is only by understanding how and why this is happening that we can have a chance to fight it. This is the only home we have, and we need to protect it.