Why is Climate Change Important to You
This will be a short examination of something that frequently appears on news. I hope to write more on the topic as it is very complex and one short blog cannot do it the justice that it deserves. Climate change continues to influence more and more lives across the planet. Scientists are taking measurements that show that the temperature is increasing year after year. News publications and television often features major weather events, highlighting severe snowstorms, hurricanes, and wildfires to name a few. The question I find myself asking, is what does this mean for me?
According to NASA most scientists agree that climate change is caused by human activities that have expanded the natural greenhouse effect of the planet. To put it simply, the atmosphere traps some of the sun’s rays as heat and that human activity is making the atmosphere trap more and more heat. The greenhouse effect is heavily influenced by the types of pollution that are created through industry, automobiles, agriculture, and numerous other means. So long as we continue to create these types of pollution, the greenhouse effect will continue to increase.
This warming, which has increased 1.8 degrees globally, will have numerous consequences. For this blog I will only cover Sea Level rise, as it has the potential to effect the largest number of people. Nearly 1/10th of the world’s population call coastal areas home. You might have heard that climate change and sea level rise are related. They are related because the trapped heat, that results from the increasing greenhouse effect, needs an outlet. Unluckily for people who live at or near sea level, the increased heat has been, slowly melting glaciers across the planet. Researchers have been measuring this ice, which makes up 19% of the planets surface, and have noted that it is at the lowest levels since measurements have been taken. This corresponds with a rising sea level, 7 inches thus far, as former ice enters the oceans.
There are a number of models that examine how much the sea level will rise if current trends continue. In the next 30 years we could see a rise of anywhere from 6 to 24 inches, this spread shows average rise based upon how much warmer we make the planet. Even a small increase can have an outsized effect, as areas become prone to more frequent and severe flooding. The precariousness of sea level rise can be seen in places like Florida, where more than half of the population today lives at or below 4 feet above sea level. This situation is seen across the globe, it will impact everyone in one way or another.
If we can reduce how much the planet warms up, we will have the best chance to keep the sea level from rising to levels that impact us here and people abroad. Regardless of whether the American government has rejected climate change and instead aligned itself with Russia, and Saudi Arabia as the only countries to reject it, there is hope, we still have time to mitigate sea level rise.
Written by Jeremy Brown