• Desmond Latham

Extreme weather increases despite denial


For the first time in recorded history, two hurricanes have made landfall on the US mainland in the same hurricane season.

With global temperatures rising, the power of violent storms has also increased, according to weather agencies worldwide.

China, the US, Southern Africa, Australasia, Europe and Latin America have all recorded record temperatures in urban and rural areas in the previous 24 months.

Glaciers that have been frozen for thousands of years are melting and both the polar regions have seen ice thinning and melting in record volumes.

The changes are not debatable, although some would suggest that it's a normal process. Other denialists suggest that the temperature rise is miscalculated and the entire discussion is based on a massive conspiracy engineered by scientists driven by a profit motive.

The latter denialist group is now regarded as a politically motivated fringe group, their analysis devoid of provable scientific data.

Here's a list showing how the world has warmed recently:

  • Mountain glaciers, ice sheets covering West Antarctica and Greenland, and Arctic sea ice have all begun to melt.

  • The sea level has been rising quickly as ice melts.

  • Precipitation, both rain and snow, has increased, along with the size of storms.

  • Invasive species have increased in oceans and on land, taking advantage of the warming weather.

  • Drought and floods in Europe have increased in the last decade.

  • Tropical and sub-tropical diseases like malaria have been reported outside of the usual regions.

  • The average global temperatures has risen by more than 1°C.

For those wishing for the pure science and data, here it is:

Average surface temperatures rose a total of 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit (0.95°C) between 1880 and 2016. The pace of change has been an additional 0.13 degrees F (0.07°C) per decade, with the land surface warming faster than the ocean surface – 0.18 degrees F (0.10°C) versus 0.11 degrees F (0.06°C) per decade, respectively. (Source: Real Science)

This is not a debate, the cause, however, remains a matter of dispute globally. Scientists have warned of what is known as the Greenhouse Effect where carbon that lingers in the atmosphere creates a blanket effect that traps heat. And the main reasons that , say environmentalists, is smoke and pollution from cars, power stations and other industrial factories along with fossil fuel generally.

There are three main ways in which Earth is affected by these gases.

1. Fossil Fuels – these are burnt in power stations and as the world populations rises, more fossil fuel power stations have been built. This has flooded the air with carbon. Motor vehicles have increased the reliance on burnt fossil fuel which has also increased carbon monoxide in the air.

2. Methane – As ice melts, methane trapped underground is being released into the air, along with more methane from domestic animals. The growth of the middle class in Asia and worldwide means more protein is being consumed, and more animals are required for that protein supply.

3. Deforestation – This leads to exposure where air is heated instead of cooled by forests and jungles, and leads to a drying out of the atmosphere with more dust collecting.

These three alone are accounting for an increase in temperatures. Those who deny the effect say its nothing new, Earth has always had fluctuating temperatures. Others say the change is directly related to human causes.

A third group believes it's a combination. Whatever the cause, the effect is now clear except for the most hard-core die-hard denialist to accept. In the past year and around the world, record high temperatures are being recorded in both summer and winter.

The logical conclusion is that the world is now hotter than at any point since historical records began which, in the case of Europe, stretches back to the 1600s. The breaking of 500-year-old records has convinced most in Europe that radical lifestyle changes could be in order, including a move to electrical vehicles, the ban in the use of fossil fuels for power, and a shift towards sustainable energy such as wind and solar.


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