Just the Facts: About Climate Change

Climate

We’ve tried this before, and it got a fairly good reception. Now with a Trump presidency looming and the fact that his pick for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency is Scott Pruitt -a decidedly anti-EPA type of guy– we thought it was time to try this again. We have talked a lot about climate change and the environment here at The NYRD. We have equated it with everything from Pixar to Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, maybe we have not been clear enough. Sometimes our tendency to try and entertain as well as inform ends up resulting in you being neither entertained or informed. -Personally, we blame the gas leak in our office-

So, let’s drop all the gimmicks, the pop culture references, and even our cutesy -parenthetical- humor. Instead, we want to offer you just the straight facts on Climate Change and how our globe is not only warming, but doing so at an alarming rate. Please understand that we are not giving you “politicized science” here. Climate Change is legitimately happening and it is legitimately being caused by human endeavors. This one thing you must accept or nothing past this will seem believable or urgent in any way. These are the facts of the matter as we know them:

Global Warming
Global Warming “is the gradual heating of Earth’s surface, oceans and atmosphere.” It is a part of Climate Change, but not the same thing.

  • Global temperature averages have been on the rise since the earl 1900’s, and the past decade has been the warmest ever on record.
  • Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880.
  • Over the last 35 years the sun has shown a cooling trend, while global temperatures continue to increase.
  • Solar output reached a deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, yet surface temperatures continued to increase during those year.
  • The top 700 meters (2,300 feet) of ocean have grown warmer by about 0.18°F (0.1°C) since 1969.
  • 80% to 90% of the heat from Global Warming is going into the oceans.
  • Antarctic ice shelves lost 2,921 trillion pounds (1,325 trillion kilograms) of ice per year in 2003 to 2008.
  • Sea levels have risen 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in a century, and the rate in the last decade has been nearly double that of the last century.
  • Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006
  • Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.
  • September Arctic sea ice is declining at a rate of 13.3% per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average.
  • Abrupt Global Warming patterns, such as the one we are experiencing in modern times, are responsible for mass extinction events, such as the one at the end of the Permian Period, 250 million years ago, that killed over 90% of all species on planet Earth.

Climate Change
Climate Change is a “change in the usual weather found in a place,” of which Global Warming is one part.

  • There is a difference between weather and Climate. New records for cold weather will continue to be set, but Global Warming’s gradual influence will make them increasingly rare.
  • The number of record high temperature events in the US has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950.
  • The US has witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.
  • In 2011, Texas had the driest year since 1895. In 2013, California had the driest year on record.
  • Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30%.
  • The amount of CO2 absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.
  • According to ice core sampling, CO2 has increased by 20 parts per million in the past 400,000 years, and 100 parts per million in the past 50.
  • Estimates of future CO2 levels, based on “business as usual emission scenarios,” indicate that by the end of this century the surface waters of the ocean could be nearly 150% more acidic.
  • If current CO2 emissions continue the Great Barrier Reef will be dead by 2025.
  • The amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that snow is now melting earlier.
  • The intensity, frequency and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes have all increased since the early 1980s.
  • The Earth’s oceans can absorb 1000% more heat than the atmosphere.
  • Sea level rise is caused primarily by two factors: the added water from melting land ice and the expansion of sea water as it warms.
  • Sea levels projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100.
  • 97% or more of publishing Climate scientists agree that Climate warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activity.

How Will You Be Affected
These are some of the impacts that are currently happening and will increase in frequency  throughout the US going forward, according to the Third National Climate Assessment Report:

  • Northeast. Heat waves, heavy downpours and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised. Many states and cities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their planning.
  • Northwest. Changes in the timing of streamflow reduce water supplies for competing demands. Sea level rise, erosion, inundation, risks to infrastructure and increasing ocean acidity pose major threats. Increasing wildfire, insect outbreaks and tree diseases are causing widespread tree die-off.
  • Southeast. Sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to the region’s economy and environment. Extreme heat will affect health, energy, agriculture and more. Decreased water availability will have economic and environmental impacts.
  • Midwest. Extreme heat, heavy downpours and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. Climate change will also exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes.
  • Southwest. Increased heat, drought and insect outbreaks, all linked to Climate change, have increased wildfires. Declining water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, health impacts in cities due to heat, and flooding and erosion in coastal areas are additional concerns.

If after reading all that your first instinct is to reject it as “bunk” or “politicized science,” than that’s probably because you’re scared. It is a big issue to think about and one that has a lot of terrifying implications. It’s okay to be a little freaked out by it. That just means you’re rational, but don’t try to rationalize away the dangers of our Climate problems. Don’t try to ignore them. All we ask is that you take the time to read the statistics and follow the links.

Raising Climate literacy is one of the best ways we know of motivating people to get out there and do something. With our new Climate-Denier-Elect coming into office it is more important than ever that the public be rightly informed about the dangers and possible disasters of Climate Change and Global Warming. We now stand at the beginning of a critical time where our actions over the next ten years will either tip the scale toward inevitable disaster or pull us back from the brink. We are going to need everyone’s attention and help, or we are going to experience another mass extinction event and that’s very bad.

The last time the Earth experienced rapid Global Warming, it took 10 million years to recover. We don’t know about you, but we don’t have that kind of time.

One comment

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *