How do we know that climate change is real?
Throughout history, Earth’s climate has undergone fluctuations and adaptations on a regular basis with no fewer than seven cycles of glacial advances and retreats.
If changes in the climate occur naturally, then why are multitudes of scientists and environmentalists stressing out about the current developments to the climate?
In previous weather adaptations, small variations in Earth’s orbit resulted in slight changes in the Earth's weather. In contrast, the current warming trend is causing substantial changes and is unequivocally the result of destructive human activity, dating back as early as the mid-20th century.
In other words, weather fluctuations that occurred in the past mildly altered planetary climates for a temporary period of time, whereas the current human induced climate developments are so severe that they could result in the mass extinction of the human race.
How Can We Be Sure?
Earth-orbiting satellites and modern technological advancements have enabled scientists to better understand the Earth’s lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.
Greenhouse gases have been accumulating since the Industrial Revolution and the consequences of the agglomeration are undeniably threatening the survival of life on Earth.
Since the Industrial Revolution, human behaviors, such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and farming livestock, have substantially increased carbon dioxide emissions as well as added substantial amounts of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. As a result, the average temperature of the planet's surface has increased by 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degrees Celsius). Scientists predict that if the current warming trends continue, all of the following will become more frequent resulting in a mass humanitarian crisis: extreme weather events such as forest fires and floods, drought, weed and pest invasions, salt invasions, water shortages, and more.
The ocean has absorbed a substantial amount of the increased heat from global warming. Since 1969, the ocean temperature has increased more than 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.33 degrees Celsius). The warming of the ocean is contributing to ocean heat waves, a rise in the sea level, the melting of glaciers, coral bleaching, and the deterioration of breeding grounds for sea life. In fact, the sea level has already risen 8 inches (20 cm) in the last century and continues to rise at an accelerated rate. Plus, the absorption of approximately 25% of the total carbon dioxide emissions have escalated the acidity of the ocean surface by 30% which threatens the survival of several marine species.
Melting Glaciers, Ice Sheets, & Snow
The shrinking of glaciers due to increasing global temperatures are a clear indication of the climate crisis. Glaciers are thawing in the Himalayas, Alps, Andes, Rockies, Alaska, and Africa. In fact, at the current rate without intervention, all of the Alps glaciers are expected to melt within half a century. Additionally, Ice sheets in Greenland and Antartica have decreased in size. NASA reports that Antartica loses 148 billion tons of ice per year and Greenland loses an average of 279 billion tons annually. Moreover, satellite observations indicate that the amount of spring snow in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased and continues to melt.
So, should you be concerned?
Yes! Should you panic? No, there is still hope.
The planet has endured a serious degree of damage. However, nature is tenacious! The environment can recover, if given the chance. Understanding climate change and the risks correlated with human behavior may feel despairing, but it is important to remember that together, we can fight the climate crisis.
Innovation and human genius can save life on earth. Everyday, there are new ideas that enable humans to function in harmony with the environment. On an individual basis, we can reduce, reuse, recycle, plant trees, save bees, eat consciously, and shop sustainably to play our part. One change you can make today: Stop using normal paper! Fight mass deforestation by using 100% recyclable and environmentally friendly paper made from stone: Etched Stone Paper.
NASA. (2022, February 8). Climate change evidence: How do we know? NASA. Retrieved May 02, 2022, from https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/#:~:text=Global Temperature Rise,atmosphere and other human activities.
Norris, J., Allen, R., Evan, A. et al. Evidence for climate change in the satellite cloud record. Nature 536, 72–75 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature18273
Kaser, G., Hardy, D. R., Mölg, T., Bradley, R. S., & Hyera, T. M. (2004). Modern glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro as evidence of climate change: observations and facts. International Journal of Climatology, 24(3), 329–339. doi:10.1002/joc.1008