Catastrophic Natural Disasters and Climate Change
In these past years alone, the world has been experiencing catastrophic natural disasters that are much bigger, stronger, and deadlier than ever before. Hurricanes are getting stronger, heatwaves are getting hotter, and fires are becoming more frequent. Those are only a select few of the effects climate change has on this Earth. In today’s world, the idea of climate change has been accepted by many, yet it does not become a fact until its effects hit close to home. If left unchecked, the greenhouse gases and pollution we are releasing into our atmosphere can cause such irreversible damage that future generations will have to endeavor.
Wildfires. This year alone, The ‘Campfire’ and ‘Woolsey’ fires that burned throughout northern California were recorded as the deadliest and most destructive in the states’ history! The Article Wildfires Ignite Debate on Global Warming discusses the supposed pattern of wildfires recorded in California during the years 2003 & 2007, and how these fires could possibly be connected to climate change. Author Max. A. Moritz states, ¦the fires of this year and last seem to fit a documented pattern. Research shows a trend towards warmer spring and summer temperatures in many forests of the western United States, which leads to earlier melting of snow and a longer, more severe fire season (Moritz 1). Wildfire seasons in the Western U.S are starting earlier and lasting longer. Heatwaves have been progressively getting warmer as scientists have been trying to link their progression with the warming of our atmosphere. In the article Heatwaves Blamed on Global Warming, author Jeff Tollefson expresses, Extremely hot summers Classified as about 3.5 degrees Celsius warmer than average have affected about 10% of the world’s land since 2006, an order of magnitude higher than during the period of 1951 to 1980 (Tollefson 1). The main problem that scientists in combating climate change has been proving its existence to those in power that deny it, usually being Republican conversationalists. Author Tollefson also writes NASA climatologist James Hansen made headlines during the US heatwave of 1988, declaring in testimony to congress and during interviews on primetime television that a build-up of greenhouse gases was increasing the probability of weather extremes (Tollefson 1). The connection between global warming and the increasing frequencies of heatwaves and natural fires is clearly evident.
Many studies have been conducted coming to a conclusion that global warming is preceded by the increase of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. Jeremy D. Shakun, Author of the article Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation writes, These observations, together with transient global climate model simulations, support the conclusion that an anti-phased hemispheric temperature response to ocean circulation changes superimposed on globally in-phase warming driven by increasing CO2 concentrations is an explanation for much of the temperature change at the end of the most recent ice age (Shakun 1). He is basically saying that the studies have shown that the increase of temperatures have been linked to the increase of greenhouse gas concentrations before the end of the last recorded ice age. The melting of the ice released concentrations of prehistoric CO2 which warmed the atmosphere progressively over a long period of time. Author Shakun also writes ¦the overall correlation and phasing of global temperature and CO2 are consistent with CO2 being an important driver of global warming during the deglaciation, with the centennial scale lag of temperature behind CO2 being consistent with the thermal inertia of the climate system owing to ocean heat uptake and ice melting? (Shakun 2). There are also other contributing factors as to why the deglaciation occurred, yet CO2 emissions were the leading factor as to why these events occurred. Although this data was of past events, the conclusions reached are very relevant to the causes of global warming today.
Our generation has to the power to slow and even reverse the progression of climate change and better our world not only for ourselves but for generations yet to come. In the article A Common-Sense Solution to Global Warming, author James Hansen (Director of the national aeronautics and space administration’s Goddard institute for space studies) writes We recently suggested a scenario that reduces the human forcing to only one watt in the next 50 years. This would yield a more moderate climate change, allowing time to understand climate change better and develop technologies and strategies to deal with the issue (Hansen 2). The two part solution he introduces is to first stop the growth of air pollution, eliminating any adding of climate forcing by substitutes other than CO2. Second, the burning of fossil fuels and emission of CO2 must decrease to less than what we are burning and emitting today. Meaning that growing energy needs must be met efficiently by introducing technologies which produce little or no CO2. The solutions to combating climate change seem so common sense that it is wonder how we have not implicated these strategies in the modern world today. Hansen concludes the article with, The common-sense approach is to move forward by attacking air pollution, improving energy efficiency and developing renewable energy sources. This approach is economically sound and has collateral benefits? (Hansen 42). Steps have actually been taken in combating climate change today. In fact, the annual growth of CO2 emissions has been slowed from 4 percent to 1 percent per year. Yet there is so much room for improvement in efforts of slowing and even reversing climate change. These efforts will create jobs, reduce the reliance of energy from foreign sources, increase economic competiveness, and improve public health.