As climate change causes temperatures to rise around the world, AP Science Reporter Seth Borenstein reported on ABC News that a new study is showing different ocean hot spots are being affected by this change as well. These hotspots can be found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. When looking at over 2,000 species of sea life, scientists are finding that the population of these creatures are dropping due to rising temperatures and extensive fishing. The population of penguins in particular show this change most dramatically. The population of Galapagos and South African penguins has dropped severely; warm waters from El Nino being a big contributing factor. According to Borenstein, the population of these penguins have dropped “over 90 percent in 20 years.”
One effect of climate change is rising sea levels. Because of excessive carbon emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, annual average temperatures have been on the rise. Because of this, the polar ice caps are melting, leading to an increase in sea levels. A study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that sea levels may rise between 11 and 38 inches by 2100.
Major cities in the United States like New York City, Miami, Honolulu, Boston, and New Orleans, would be destroyed by this. Rising sea levels are also caused by the thermal expansion of water. Warm water is less dense and takes up more space than cold water, causing warmer sea waters to be another issue for low lying civilizations. The biggest problem with melting polar ice is the fact that its disappearance creates a positive feedback system. Polar ice (light/white surfaces) creates albedo which reflects sunlight back into space while darker surfaces (like the ocean) absorbs sunlight and convert it to heat. This means that while rising temperatures cause ice caps to melt, ice cap melt in turn causes temperature to rise. This fact alone exposes the severity of the issue of climate change and why it’s imperative for local and federal governments to take immediate action.
Climate change is affecting the marine life in the North Sea. In 2016 water temperatures in the North Sea reached an average of 11° C. This increase in temperature is affecting the residents of those waters, but at the same time is good news for new immigrant species. Sardine and anchovy populations are increasing in the North Sea. Christian Buschbaum, a marine ecologist, gives these creatures the term “Ecological Sleepers”. According to Buschbaum these species “wake up” when temperatures rise in the North Sea because it causes conditions where they can reproduce more easily. If the water temperature gets higher, there will be more species migrating to the North Sea. However, there will also be species that will not like the increase in temperature. Cod is being affected by the high temperatures and this species is migrating to other areas.
Unfortunately, climate change has not been much of a concern to the public. There are some people that believe it is only affecting animals, or only areas in the Arctic. Or that it is too far away to affect them. However, as climate change continues to get worse, so does public health. The consequences of climate change could eventually kill us all. According to the Lancet, a British medical journal: “Climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” High temperatures help to set the stage for a public health disaster since they disrupt global ecosystems and food production. They also cause extreme weather events and wildfires. They threaten coastal communities with accelerated sea level rise and create the perfect conditions for deadly diseases to spread. Global temperatures this year have totally bypassed previous records. Of the last twelve years, ten of them have been the hottest on record. Fortunately, global leaders have finally begun to step up and tackle these climate change-fueled threats to public health before it comes full circle and takes us out.
Global warming is disturbing the climate system of our beautiful planet Earth. Now we see more frequent and severe weather patterns due to higher temperatures caused by greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants. These gases are trapped in the atmosphere and absorb the heat and radiation of the sun. This causes the Earth to get warmer. These severe weather events are jeopardizing the safety of our communities. According to today’s scientists, climate change is one of the biggest threats to our health. An example of this is the numerous heat-related deaths every year that we watch in the news. The rising temperatures cause illness such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and cardiovascular disease that puts our lives at risk. Among the most affected by these extreme weather conditions are the elderly, young children, and poor communities. Watch a short video about global warming here.