Ok, we’ve all heard of the term Global Warming. But do we really understand what it means?
Global warming or climate change means that the Earth is being affected by the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere largely because of man, industry and globalization. Think of the carbon like a thick wooly blanket that keeps the hot air in, making the Earth hotter than it has been in 650,000 years, resulting in shocking images we’ve all been suddenly exposed to – like polar bears clinging onto tiny patches of ice because so much has melted. And have you noticed that there seem to be an awful lot of tropical storms around the world, more violent and more widespread than you remember growing up?
Do you find the picture above as disturbing as I do?
Here are some of the shocking facts, according to the National Geographic:
• Average temperatures have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degree Celsius) around the world since 1880, much of this in recent decades, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
• The rate of warming is increasing. The 20th century’s last two decades were the hottest in 400 years and possibly the warmest for several millennia, according to a number of climate studies. And the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that 11 of the past 12 years are among the dozen warmest since 1850.
• The Arctic is feeling the effects the most. Average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average, according to the multinational Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report compiled between 2000 and 2004.
• Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing, and the region may have its first completely ice-free summer by 2040 or earlier. Polar bears and indigenous cultures are already suffering from the sea-ice loss.
• Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting—for example, Montana’s Glacier National Park now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. In the Northern Hemisphere, thaws also come a week earlier in spring and freezes begin a week later.
• Coral reefs, which are highly sensitive to small changes in water temperature, suffered the worst bleaching—or die-off in response to stress—ever recorded in 1998, with some areas seeing bleach rates of 70 percent. Experts expect these sorts of events to increase in frequency and intensity in the next 50 years as sea temperatures rise.
• An upsurge in the amount of extreme weather events, such as wildfires and strong tropical storms, is also attributed in part to climate change by some experts.
To become more active and do your bit to stop this, visit Stop Global Warming.