What’s Going on With Climate Change?
Global warming is, probably, the most urgent issue in modern scientific investigations. Numerous experiments and observations are constantly being conducted in northern areas, oceanic coasts, and in certain parts of the
world’s various oceans, where both temperature and rising sea levels offer direct testimony on the seemingly rapid changes in climate conditions.
These experiments have touched on various environmental fields, including animal habitats (both terrestrial and aquatic), vegetation diversity, soils, our atmosphere, and general human livelihood, as we all well know. This collective body of amassed experience and gathered data has encouraged scholars to posit a few conclusions, possible prospects and arguments concerning the process and status of global warming.
Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases
One of many related issues deals associated with climate change, is the effect on greenhouse gases. According to estimates made by Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, 315 billion tons of carbon has hit the Earth’s atmosphere since 1751, but nearly half of that was produced only since the 1970s. It’s difficult to imagine that this has little or nothing to do with rapid global industrial
growth, and as a consequence, a significant amount of air pollution.
To be more precise, 77.5% of carbon dioxide was produced by coal and liquid fuel combustion, 18.1% – by natural gas combustion, and 3.8% – by concrete production. One interesting thing to note is that the last uptick actually doubled in just the past five years.
Temperature shifts, and specifically rising temperatures, may eventually lead to the extinction of numerous species. In fact, many plant species would not be able to survive a large-scale water shortage, while certain animal species would have
to settle in other areas, after perhaps a long and arduous search for food and water.
According to some assessments, 30% of species will find themselves on the verge of extinction, making it clear that the effects of global warming on wildlife are not positive in the slightest. One of the most significant and glaring examples is the Bengal tiger species, which is distributed in a special area with unique climate and natural conditions, namely in the mangrove forests on the border between India and Bangladesh. Taking into account that sea level rises approximately 4mm annually, in 2050, the area is threatened to be submerged, as a result.
Recently, most of climate change references are associated with the Arctic meltdown and the gradual decline in polar bear populations. To date, it counts nearly 20-25 thousand individual animals in the Arctic region. Due to the clear patterns of warming in the Arctic area, these animals have been forced to move to the north, along the border of the Arctic Ocean.
They make this move in search of a cooler environment, further threatening their existence. Nowadays, zoologists observe massive seasonal migrations, preconditioned by recurrent ice forming and melting. In particular, various scientific assessments speak of 30-70% reduction of polar bear population by the middle of the 21st century.
The after-effects of ice melting and temperature levels rising in the Arctic might also occur in other parts of the world. One possibility that is discussed has to do with the United States, including severe drought in south-eastern states, and an increase in rain and snow in other parts of the country (Colorado, for instance).
Another much-talked about pattern relates to the permafrost of Russia and Alaska. While the area seems to be evolving (or devolving) along with the Arctic melting, the soil temperature at the depth of 20 meters has added nearly a couple of degrees during the last several years. As one might imagine, it won’t take long before local ecosystems will likely experience severe shifts due to global warming.
[Photo Via: hellokids.com]