Home Lead Story Global Warmin...

Global Warming ‘Is in Our Living Room’ As A Result Of Ignoring Earth

Earth is noticeably hotter, the weather stormier and more extreme

0
//
water, health crisis
The degree of water sterilization is minimal. VOA

On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, James Hansen told Congress and the world that global warming wasn’t approaching — it had already arrived. The testimony of the top NASA scientist, said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, was “the opening salvo of the age of climate change.”

Thirty years later, it’s clear that Hansen and other doomsayers were right. But the change has been so sweeping that it is easy to lose sight of effects large and small — some obvious, others less conspicuous.

Earth is noticeably hotter, the weather stormier and more extreme. Polar regions have lost billions of tons of ice; sea levels have been raised by trillions of gallons of water. Far more wildfires rage.

Over 30 years — the time period climate scientists often use in their studies in order to minimize natural weather variations — the world’s annual temperature has warmed nearly 1 degree (0.54 degrees Celsius), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And the temperature in the United States has gone up even more — nearly 1.6 degrees.

“The biggest change over the last 30 years, which is most of my life, is that we’re no longer thinking just about the future,” said Kathie Dello, a climate scientist at Oregon State University in Corvallis. “Climate change is here, it’s now and it’s hitting us hard from all sides.”

In this May 9, 1989 file photo, Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, testifies before a Senate Transportation subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., a year after his history-making testimony telling the world that global warming was here and would get worse.
In this May 9, 1989 file photo, Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, testifies before a Senate Transportation subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., a year after his history-making testimony telling the world that global warming was here and would get worse. VOA

Warming hasn’t been just global, it’s been all too local. According to an Associated Press statistical analysis of 30 years of weather, ice, fire, ocean, biological and other data, every single one of the 344 climate divisions in the Lower 48 states — NOAA groupings of counties with similar weather — has warmed significantly, as has each of 188 cities examined.

The effects have been felt in cities from Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the yearly average temperature rose 2.9 degrees in the past 30 years, to Yakima, Washington, where the thermometer jumped a tad more. In the middle, Des Moines, Iowa, warmed by 3.3 degrees since 1988.

South central Colorado, the climate division just outside Salida, has warmed 2.3 degrees on average since 1988, among the warmest divisions in the contiguous United States.

When she was a little girl 30 years ago, winery marketing chief Jessica Shook used to cross country ski from her Salida doorstep in winter. It was that cold and there was that much snow. Now, she has to drive about 50 miles for snow that’s not on mountain tops, she said.

Jessica Shook poses for a photo at the winery where she works in Salida, Colo., April 30, 2018.
Jessica Shook poses for a photo at the winery where she works in Salida, Colo., April 30, 2018. VOA

“T-shirt weather in January, that never used to happen when I was a child,” Shook said. When Buel Mattix bought his heating and cooling system company 15 years ago in Salida, he had maybe four air conditioning jobs a year. Now he’s got a waiting list of 10 to 15 air conditioning jobs long and may not get to all of them.

Wildfires

And then there’s the effect on wildfires. Veteran Salida firefighter Mike Sugaski used to think a fire of 10,000 acres was big. Now he fights fires 10 times as large.

“You kind of keep saying ‘How can they get much worse?’ But they do,” said Sugaski, who was riding his mountain bike on what usually are ski trails in January this year.

In fact, wildfires in the United States now consume more than twice the acreage they did 30 years ago.

The statistics tracking climate change since 1988 are almost numbing. North America and Europe have warmed 1.89 degrees — more than any other continent. The Northern Hemisphere has warmed more than the Southern, the land faster than the ocean. Across the United States, temperature increases were most evident at night and in summer and fall. Heat rose at a higher rate in the North than the South.

Smoke rises behind a destroyed apartment complex as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017.
Smoke rises behind a destroyed apartment complex as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif., Dec. 5, 2017. VOA

Heat records

Since 1988, daily heat records have been broken more than 2.3 million times at weather stations across the nation, half a million times more than cold records were broken.

Doreen Pollack fled Chicago cold for Phoenix more than two decades ago, but in the past 30 years nighttime summer heat has increased almost 3.3 degrees there. She said when the power goes out, it gets unbearable, adding: “Be careful what you ask for.”

The AP interviewed more than 50 scientists who confirmed the depth and spread of warming.

Clara Deser, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said that when dealing with 30-year time periods in smaller regions than continents or the globe as a whole, it would be unwise to say all the warming is man-made. Her studies show that in some places in North America — though not most — natural weather variability could account for as much as half of local warming.

But when you look at the globe as a whole, especially since 1970, nearly all the warming is man-made, said Zeke Hausfather of the independent science group Berkeley Earth. Without extra carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, he said, the Earth would be slightly cooling from a weakening sun. Numerous scientific studies and government reports calculate that greenhouse gases in the big picture account for more than 90 percent of post-industrial Earth’s warming.

“It would take centuries to a millennium to accomplish that kind of change with natural causes. This, in that context, is a dizzying pace,” said Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Since the 1800s, scientists have demonstrated that certain gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap heat from the sun like a blanket. Human activities such as burning of coal, oil and gasoline are releasing more of those gases into the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide. U.S. and international science reports say that more than 90 percent of the warming that has happened since 1950 is man-made.

The remains of a fish lies on the dried bed of Lake Colorado City near Colorado City, Texas. during the second-most severe drought in state history, Aug. 11, 2011.
The remains of a fish lies on the dried bed of Lake Colorado City near Colorado City, Texas. during the second-most severe drought in state history, Aug. 11, 2011. VOA

Extremes

Others cautioned that what might seem to be small increases in temperature should not be taken lightly.

“One or two degrees may not sound like much, but raising your thermostat by just that amount will make a noticeable effect on your comfort,” said Deke Arndt, NOAA’s climate monitoring chief in Asheville, North Carolina, which has warmed nearly 1.8 degrees in 30 years.

Arndt said average temperatures don’t tell the entire story: “It’s the extremes that these changes bring.”

The nation’s extreme weather — flood-inducing downpours, extended droughts, heat waves and bitter cold and snow — has doubled in 30 years, according to a federal index.

The Northeast’s extreme rainfall has more than doubled. Brockton, Massachusetts, had only one day with at least four inches of rain from 1957 to 1988, but a dozen of them in the 30 years since, according to NOAA records. Ellicott City, Maryland, just had its second thousand-year flood in little less than two years.

And the summer’s named Atlantic storms? On average, the first one now forms nearly a month earlier than it did in 1988, according to University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

The 14 costliest hurricanes in American history, adjusted for inflation, have hit since 1988, reflecting both growing coastal development and a span that included the most intense Atlantic storms on record.

“The collective damage done by Atlantic hurricanes in 2017 was well more than half of the entire budget of our Department of Defense,” said MIT’s Kerry Emanuel.

Arctic ice

Climate scientists point to the Arctic as the place where climate change is most noticeable with dramatic sea ice loss, a melting Greenland ice sheet, receding glaciers and thawing permafrost. The Arctic has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the world.

Alaska’s annual average temperature has warmed 2.4 degrees since 1988 and 5.4 degrees in the winter. Since 1988, Utqiagvik, Alaska, formerly known as Barrow, has warmed more than 6 degrees yearly and more than 9 degrees in winter.

Researchers look out from the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as the sun sets over sea ice in the Victoria Strait along the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, July 21, 2017.
Researchers look out from the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as the sun sets over sea ice in the Victoria Strait along the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, July 21, 2017. VOA

“The temperature change is noticeable. Our ground is thawing,” said Mike Aamodt, 73, the city’s former acting mayor. He had to move his own cabins at least four times because of coastal erosion and thawing ground due to global warming. “We live the climate change.”

The amount of Arctic sea ice in September, when it shrinks the most, fell by nearly one third since 1988. It is disappearing 50 years faster than scientists predicted, said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University.

“There is a new Arctic now because the Arctic ocean is now navigable” at times in the summer, said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The vast majority of glaciers around the world have shrunk. A NASA satellite that measures shifts in gravity calculated that Earth’s glaciers lost 279 billion tons of ice — nearly 67 trillion gallons of water — from 2002 to 2017. In 1986, the Begich Boggs visitor center at Alaska’s Chugach National Forest opened to highlight the Portage glacier. But the glacier keeps shrinking.

“You absolutely cannot see it from the visitor center and you haven’t in the last 15 or so years,” said climatologist Brian Brettschneider of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica have also shriveled, melting about 455 billion tons of ice into water, according to the NASA satellite. That’s enough to cover the state of Georgia in water nearly 9 feet deep.

Sea level

And it is enough — coupled with all the other melting ice — to raise the level of the seas. Overall, NASA satellites have shown three inches of sea level rise (75 millimeters) in just the past 25 years.

With more than 70 percent of the Earth covered by oceans, a 3-inch increase means about 6,500 cubic miles (27,150 cubic km) of extra water. That’s enough to cover the entire United States with water about 9 feet deep.

It’s a fitting metaphor for climate change, say scientists: We’re in deep, and getting deeper.

Also read: A rise in 2 degrees Celsius in global warming could cause droughts

“Thirty years ago, we may have seen this coming as a train in the distance,” NOAA’s Arndt said. “The train is in our living room now.” (VOA)

Next Story

Coronavirus Pandemic: A Punishment for Humans?

Humans have caused irreparable damage to earth over the span of millions of year

0
mask Coronavirus
The world has seen many pandemics in the past before Coronavirus pandemic. Pixabay

By Muskan Bhatnagar

It’s been over 6 months since the Coronavirus outbreak and the world is still fighting against it. Coronavirus Worldometer suggests a total of 4,907,135 cases so far, including cases that resulted in deaths and the ones recovered. This is not the first time that the world is going through a pandemic and crisis. Humans saw the Spanish Flu back in 1918, the spread of HIV in 1981, and the most recent one in 2009, H1N1 Swine flu. These pandemics killed millions of people across the globe, just like COVID-19

Since the onset of the year 2020, the world has faced terrible situations. The year began with Australia still on wildfires, a US drone strike on Iran which could’ve escalated to another World War in January, February saw a global stock market crash, in March COVID-19 had spread globally forcing nations to shut down, the global death toll from COVID-19 exceeds 200,000 in April and the world economy is expected to shrink  3%, which is the worst contraction since the 1930s Great Depression. With the onset of May, the global death toll exceeds 300,000 and the world faces a global mental health crisis because of isolation, fear, and economic crisis.

It’s not even been 6 months into this year and the world has already the worst of times. But the question is- who is responsible for all this? The answer is crystal clear. It is us, the human race.

The modern form of humans has existed on earth from 200,000 years. With time, humans have conquered the planet, excelled in the fields of science and technology, made impossible things possible, and developed a world with possibly the most luxurious facilities.

nature
Humans have caused a lot of damage to the planet with activities like deforestation. Pixabay

In the process of development, humans have caused irreparable damage to Earth and the environment which includes ecosystems, biodiversity, natural resources, etc.

Overconsumption and over-exploitation of resources, overpopulation of humans, global warming, pollution, deforestation, etc have caused damages that are irreversible now. We have exploited the planet to an extent where it’s impossible to rectify the damage we have caused.

Speaking about my personal opinion, this year seems to be a punishment to the human species for all the harm we have caused to nature and the environment since the day of our existence. We have hurt the nature, animals, birds, plants, and even our fellow human beings, and this devastating situation right now, feels like we’re repaying for it.

wildlife
People have been hunting animals and destroying ecosystems since a long time. Pixabay

We have killed a countless number of animals and birds just to satisfy our hunger even when we can live without eating them, we have killed animals for the sake of wearing good clothes, we have killed animals just to pursue our hobby of hunting, we have cut down trees so that we can make paper and write ‘save trees’ on them, we have caused air pollution so that we don’t sweat, we have exploited natural resources like petroleum just for the sake of our laziness, we have destroyed forests for the purpose of making luxurious cities, we have damaged the water bodies because we can’t even throw garbage in a bin.

And we happen to be the ‘best creation of God’ and also the smartest species to ever exist on this planet.

international-space-station-1176518_19201
The earth seems to be healing itself while we are confined to our homes. Pixabay

Read More: How Resolution 20-172 by St. Paul City Council Incites Hindu Phobia

Is the development and smartness of any use if the planet is no more able to sustain us? It feels like nature took everything in its hands and decided to punish us from all possible aspects and started to heal itself by confining us to our houses.

Nature has bounced back as we are locked inside our homes. The world has seen a significant positive change in the environment with many countries experiencing a fall in carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide of as much as 40%. With the minimum use of cars on the road, it seems to be a piece of potential good news for the climate as oil happens to be the biggest source of carbon emissions. Not just this, but the flora and fauna have also received a big positive change.

The World and its people are suffering and facing the worst of times, but the planet earth seems to be relieved.

Next Story

Temperature, Latitude not Associated with COVID-19: Researchers

Hotter and humid weather may not stop COVID-19

0
healthcare workers COVID-19
The spread of Coronavirus has nothing to do with temprature and latitude, says arecent study. VOA

Temperature and latitude are not associated with the spread of the COVID-19 disease, say researchers, adding that they found a weak association between humidity and reduced transmission.

The results — that hotter weather had no effect on the pandemic’s progression — surprised the authors. “Our study provides important new evidence, using global data from the COVID-19 epidemic, that these public health interventions have reduced epidemic growth,” said study researcher Dr Peter Juni from the University of Toronto, and St Michael’s Hospital in Canada.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, looked at 144 geopolitical areas — states and provinces in Australia, the US and Canada as well as various countries around the world — and a total of more than 3,75,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases. China, Italy, Iran and South Korea were excluded because the virus was either waning in the case of China or in full disease outbreak at the time of the analysis in others.

To estimate epidemic growth, researchers compared the number of cases on March 27 with cases on March 20, and determined the influence of latitude, temperature, humidity, school closures, restrictions on mass gatherings and social distancing measured during the exposure period of March 7 to 13.

 

healthcare workers COVID-19
The results of the study showed that hotter weather had no effect on the pandemic’s progression. VOA

They found little or no association between latitude or temperature with epidemic growth of COVID-19 and a weak association between humidity and reduced transmission. “We had conducted a preliminary study that suggested both latitude and temperature could play a role. But when we repeated the study under much more rigorous conditions, we got the opposite result,” Juni said. The researchers did find that public health measures, including school closures, social distancing and restrictions of large gatherings, have been effective.

“Our results are of immediate relevance as many countries, and some Canadian provinces and territories, are considering easing or removing some of these public health interventions,” Juni added. According to the research team, summer is not going to make this go away.

 

Read More: Shower Your Mom With Love this Mother’s Day with Airbnb

Indian Prime Minister
The researchers did find that public health measures, including school closures, social distancing and restrictions of large gatherings, have been effective. VOA

The authors noted several study limitations, such as differences in testing practices, the inability to estimate actual rates of COVID-19 and compliance with social distancing. When deciding how to lift restrictions, governments and public health authorities should carefully weigh the impact of these measures against potential economic and mental health harm and benefits, they said.

However, last month, Indian microbiologist Professor Y Singh who worked with the NIH and also with the US Army Lab on ‘Project Anthrax’, had told IANS that an expected temperature of over 40 degrees by the end of April can slow down the affect of the coronavirus. In February, US President Donald Trump said that the coronavirus will “go away” in April. The logic he cited was that the heat generally kills this kind of virus.

Trump is not the only politician to express the hope that things will improve in the summer. Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock had also reportedly said that the virus could be less transmissible during summer. (IANS)

Next Story

Christie’s Makes Largest Lunar Meteorites Available for Sale

Lunar meteorites arrived on Earth after having been blasted off the lunar surface

0
meteor-shower-2018-3876718_1920
Meteor shower is depicted in the above picture. Pixabay

Christies presents NWA 12691, a significant lunar rock, among the largest known in existence. Moon rock is among the rarest substances on Earth, with less than 650 kg. of lunar meteorites known to exist.

This example is the fifth largest piece of the Moon on Earth, larger than any returned by the Apollo programme. Valued in the region of �2 million, the specimen is available for immediate purchase via Christie’s Private Sales.

Lunar meteorites arrived on Earth after having been blasted off the lunar surface by the collision with an asteroid or comet. All of the Moon’s large craters were created by such impacts. This particular meteorite was part of a large meteorite shower straddling the Western Saharan, Algerian and Mauritanian borders, responsible for nearly half of all known lunar meteorites.

Approximately 30 different meteorites were collected, analysed, classified and assigned different NWA numbers in the belief they might be from different events and represent different lunar samples; but it has been determined that they all originate from the same lunar impact event as the current offering, NWA 12691, found in the Sahara Desert two years ago.

800px-Joka2000_-_Moon_vs_METEOROID_by
All of the Moon’s large craters were created by having been blasted off the lunar surface by the collision with an asteroid or comet. Wikimedia Commons

James Hyslop, Christie’s Head of Science & Natural History: “I’ve been lucky enough to handle a few lunar meteorites at Christie’s over the years, but every time I see this specimen in the warehouse the sheer size of it bowls me over. Weighing over 13.5kg, it is so much larger than anything else that has ever been offered before. The experience of holding a piece of another world in your hands is something you never forget.”

Scientists identify Moon rocks by their specific textural, mineralogical, chemical and isotopic signatures. Many of the common minerals found on Earth are rare or absent on the Moon, while some lunar minerals are unknown on Earth. In addition, Moon rocks contain gases captured from the solar wind with isotope ratios very different from the same gases found on Earth.

Read More: Brocolli and Almond soup: For an Improved Respiratory System

Christie’s will also offer for private sale a group of 13 aesthetic iron meteorites. Shaped by forces terrestrial and extra-terrestrial, this group of natural sculptures forms one of the most important collections of aesthetic iron meteorites in private hands. The collection, estimated in the region of �1.4 million, is available for immediate purchase via Christie’s Private Sales.

Unknown millennia ago – the exact date is lost to prehistory – an object weighing more than 26,000kg crashed into Earth. It originally formed 4.5 billion years ago from the core of a planetary- like body located between Mars and Jupiter, whose shattered remains are now part of the asteroid belt. An impact event ejected what was to become the Gibeon mass into interplanetary space before its descent to Earth, exploding in the atmosphere and raining down on what is now the Kalahari Desert. (IANS)

Global Warming ‘Is in Our Living Room’ As A Result Of Ignoring Earth
Coronavirus Pandemic: A Punishment for Humans?
Temperature, Latitude not Associated with COVID-19: Researchers
Christie’s Makes Largest Lunar Meteorites Available for Sale