For the past 10 years I have experienced many natural disasters that have affected New York City. People are starting to take notice that the unusual weather patterns we are experiencing might be due to climate change, a hard reality to accept. In December 2015, I can remember the temperature being around 60°F during Christmas Eve. I was surprised by that registered temperature. Usually, in December we register very cold, wintery temperatures, not spring-like temperatures. According to scientists, the earth is closer to the sun, therefore, producing colder temperatures, so most of the time it will snow around Christmas Eve. This event and others like it piqued my curiosity and I started to question why we are experiencing these unusual temperatures. I read that the greenhouse effect was the main reason.
The exchange of incoming and outgoing radiation that warms the Earth is often referred to as the greenhouse effect and is a natural phenomenon where solar energy passes through the atmosphere and warms the Earth. The absorption of excess sunlight forms greenhouse gases are released into the earth’s atmosphere instead of reflecting back out into space. But burning fossil fuels and deforestation, to name a few human activities, have added greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, trapping solar energy and heating up the earth’s atmosphere. The change in temperature on earth is having a clear impact on the climate, which is changing and which we know as global warming.
Climate change not only affects temperature, but it also affects disease. For example, the high concentration of ultra violet rays in the atmosphere can increase cancer. Cancer develops when our cells do not function properly. Our cells carry out different mechanisms to keep us alive, and these mechanisms require a specific amount of light to be carried out. Also needed is DNA, which contains the information in our genes that tell a cell how to function. The constant exposure to ultraviolet light will cause our genes to undergo mutations, and these mutations will cause the DNA base pairs to change affecting how they are supposed to function. The accumulation of these mutated cells will then develop into cancer.
I live in College Point close to the East River, where I often visit a park nearby my house, and I started to notice how the sea level was rising. 6 years ago there was a public space for people to exercise near a river. 2 years ago, this same area closed because the city deemed it unsafe due to the rising sea levels. If climate change continues and the sea levels keep rising, my city and areas that we frequently use will have to remain closed because they will be unsafe.