Have you noticed off late how the climate in your area has changed? Either there has been delayed rains in some states, causing drying up of lands, or it has been pouring like cats and dogs for days, destroying homes in heavy floods. However, just a decade ago, the scenario was not the same. Have you wondered what led to these drastic changes?
Climate change is for real and the effects of these changes are more evident now than ever! And these changes are not just limited to untimely rainfalls. There has been an extraordinary rise in temperatures coupled with heavy droughts and unprecedented floods. Then there are raging wildfires destroying homes on thousands of acres in a flash and unexpected heavy snowfall destroying livelihood.
The impacts of these dramatic changes in the climate is not just limited to your locality, state or country but in every corner of this world. And as days go by, the consequences of these changes are worse than ever.
It’s Code Red for Climate Change!
According to a recent study by the United Nations, the last four decades have been warmer than any point in the last 125,000 years! The combined report from NASA and NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) states how the rising temperatures in the past decade have also helped fuel a slew of natural disasters.
Do you want to know what are the notable trends that show evidence of these massive changes?
One of the biggest drivers of climate change is the atmospheric carbon dioxide level. The CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and cement broke all records by hitting 417 parts per million in 2020 (a concentration level that is higher than at any point in the past 2.6 million years). While the effects of lockdown did create an impact, the overall level of CO2 emission is so huge that this impact could hardly bring any significant change.
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) states how the rising temperature has changed many of our planetary support systems that are irreversible on timescales of centuries to millennia. For instance,
“Everything is interconnected. If one part of the climate system changes, the rest of the system will respond,” – Julienne Stroeve, a polar scientist
The melting of the Earth’s ice sheet serves as the most evident signpost of the change over the past decade. The Arctic experienced 1 degree celsius of warming in the last decade alone as compared to 1 degree celsius for the planet at large over the past 50 years. The increased heat in 2020 was felt more on the Eurasian side of the Arctic Circle, where the ice didn’t even freeze until the end of October. According to studies led by IPCC, almost every single glacier on Earth’s high mountains is shrinking, thus reshaping life in those high elevation zones.
Also Read : A look at the World’s largest Antarctic Iceberg
Forests are important as they soak up carbon dioxide – the main component responsible for global warming and help regulate global climate. They are also home to countless plant and animal species; without whom the entire ecosystem will be out of balance. Since 1990, the world has lost 17,87,092 square kilometres of forest (almost the size of Libya – the fourth largest country in Africa). The rapid cleaning of forest areas for construction purposes is also one of the primary factors for global warming.
How have climate changes affected countries?
Also Read: What caused the Australian bushfires?
Heavy floods that have upended life in countries like India and China have sent a stark reminder that climate change is making weather more extreme across the globe. Parts of Germany, Belgium, Nigeria and Netherlands have also recently experienced heavy floods that disrupted lives and forced many to evacuate.
This summer, California has experienced a series of heat waves with record-breaking temperatures (approx. 48 degree Celsius) causing dangerous levels of heat exposure.
Madagascar is currently facing its worst drought in 40 years, caused by years of failed rains and intensified by a series of sandstorms and locust attacks.
The impact of climate change is so powerful that it snowed in a tropical country like Brazil for the 1st time in 64 years! The cause is the potent Antarctic outbreak that seized control of the weather and snowed, blanketing the majority of the country.
We have come to the “moment of truth,” as quoted by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “The reports make it clear – there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. We have to act now.”
The only way to stop this is to realise and act. Here are a few valuable steps that we can take:
Climate change is a serious matter and we all need to act together to prevent our Earth from further damage. What are the steps you are taking to help keep your environment green? Tell us in the comments below.
Books are Tanaya Goswami’s first love and cheesecakes come a close second. Talking about movies, music, calligraphy, politics, and Elon Musk will get you listed under the friends’ section of her diary. Ever since moving on from her job as an English lecturer, she spends her time at BYJU’S crafting stories filled with emotion and sprinkled with sarcasm. Outside of work, she’s either learning something new (French, most recently!) or is curled up with a book and a cup of coffee. She firmly believes that discovering what you don’t know is the key to knowledge and is constantly working towards improving herself. Drop in a line at [email protected] if you liked her stories, have something nice to say, or if you have compelling ideas to share!
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