Most of us wake up in the morning and go about our day just like we did the day before. However, the planet is getting warmer, and we are living with the impacts of that warmth even as we speak. Whether you believe in global warming or you don’t, the facts don’t lie: our planet is getting warmer. Below are some of the tell-tale signs that no one should simply ignore.
The average surface temperature here on Earth has risen about one degree Celsius since the late 19th century. The warmup is being driven primarily by greenhouse gasses that we have pumped into the atmosphere with our cars and our factories. The vast majority of that warming has occurred within the past 40 years, and the last seven years have been the warmest of them all according to the NASA Global Climate Change website. Though the planet does undergo some natural fluctuations in temperature, this warming goes well beyond what we should expect to occur naturally and is undoubtedly fueled by humanity’s incessant production of greenhouse gasses.
A Warmer Ocean
Much of the excess heat that has been produced during this time has been absorbed by our boundless oceans. The top 100 meters of Earth’s oceans have warmed by about 0.33 degrees Celsius since 1969, and while that may seem like a very slight increase, it’s important to consider the immensity of the ocean. Even a slight change in the ocean’s temperature can spell disaster for marine life, and this is evidenced by the dying coral reefs all across the globe.
As if these two facts weren’t compelling enough, there’s the most undeniable evidence of all: the ice sheets are shrinking, and they’re shrinking fast. Per the same NASA website, Greenland lost 297 billion tons of ice per year and Antarctica lost 148 billion tons of ice per year in the period between 1993 and 2009. Just recently, the Conger Ice Shelf – one that is larger than all of New York City – shattered off of Antarctica. Scientists and environmentalists were floored because they believed this ice to be among some of the most stable in the world.
An Uptick in Natural Disasters
If you’re 30 years old or older, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen this one firsthand. Yes, we have always been affected by tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires, but in the last 20 years or so, these natural disasters have grown significantly stronger and more frequent than in years past. Hurricane Katrina is one such example; more recently, scientists announced they believe that the famed Tornado Alley is actually shifting to the east after a string of deadly tornadoes ripped through Kentucky, New Orleans, and most recently, Texas.
Between a warmer planet, a warmer ocean, melting ice caps and ice sheets, and a massive uptick in deadly natural disasters, the evidence of global warming is right in front of us every day. It’s important for each of us to do our part to reduce greenhouse gasses and help make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren.