Impacts of a Changing Climate
There is no debate about whether our climate is changing. What we need to do is look at how climate change is impacting our world, understand what further changes to expect, and find ways to adapt. How do we survive, thrive?
We can start with the most obvious, the melting of the glaciers. No big deal, right? So what if all the ice from the glaciers melts away, that has no impact on your daily life. Or does it?
Well, let’s take a look at that single problem, and see how it grows. The melted ice needs to go somewhere, it is not just evaporating. Which brings us to our second Climate Change Impact:
So we are going to lose some landmass to the rising oceans, forcing coastal residents to move inland.
You may not have to worry about that because you already live inland. How will your community handle the influx of climate migrants?
But then where do we migrate to? The melting of the glaciers and rising sea levels are now having an effect on the jet stream, which leads us to the third impact:
But flooding and extreme storms are only half of the problem.
So now we have a migration of people that are forced to move away from coastlines because the land is being swallowed up by rising ocean levels, and a migration of people from areas that have become too hot, or too cold, to inhabit.
Migration is not the only problem we will be dealing with.
Mother nature is already reacting.
As if that were not bad enough, while we are being adversely affected by these changes, others are already adapting, and causing new threats to our populations.
The melting of the glaciers and subsequent actions are just a fraction of the changes we will continue to experience.
The only debate is whether we as an industrialized world have brought it on, and if so, how do we repair the damage we have done? What caused the glaciers to begin melting in the first place?
(Source of Climate Change Impacts from Dr. D. Michael Shafer’s “Climate Change Primer” Download your free copy.)
“Innovation is the heart of humanity. We need new ideas and new creativities to help address contemporary issues.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita
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August 2016 (First Edition)
Scientists attribute current atmospheric warming to human activities that have increased the amount of carbon containing gases in the upper atmosphere and to increased amounts of tiny particles in the lower atmosphere.
Specifically, gases released primarily by the burning of fossil fuels and the tiny particles produced by incomplete burning trap the sun’s energy in the atmosphere. Scientists call these gases “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) because they act like the wrong way reflective glass in our global greenhouse.
Scientists call the tiny particles ‘black carbon’ (you call it soot or smoke) and attribute their warming effect to the fact that the resulting layer of black particles in the lower atmosphere absorbs heat like a black blanket.
Scientists date the beginning of the current warming trend to the end of the 18th or beginning of the 19th century when coal first came into common use.
This warming trend has accelerated as we have increased our use of fossil fuels to include gasoline, diesel, kerosene and natural gas, as well as the petrochemicals (plastics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers) we now make from oil.
Scientists attribute the current warming trend to the use of fossil fuels because using them releases into the atmosphere stores of carbon that were sequestered (buried) millions of years ago.
The addition of this “old” carbon to the world’s current stock of carbon, scientists have concluded, is what is heating our earth which causes global warming.
In much the same way as moving away from oil and coal to sustainable energy sources can help alleviate global warming, biochar technology applied to both land management and sustainable agricultural practices can make a huge difference.
What Can We Do?
The first step is to recognize that we do indeed have a problem. Next step is to find solutions.
Advances are being made everyday on sustainable alternative sources of fuel, weaning us away from dependence and use of oil and coal. That is a big step in the right direction.
But oil and coal are only part of the problem contributing to global warming.
Land management and agricultural practices also play a big part.
- Deforestation is stripping away a natural defense against global warming
Trees play a critical role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere—and increased speed and severity of global warming.
- Dead trees emit carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming
Trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. They release the oxygen (O2) back into the atmosphere for us to breathe and use the carbon (C) to build cell walls. As long as the tree is alive, it soaks up C; together trees in a forest become a “carbon sink” holding carbon that cannot contribute to global warming.
The problem with this is obvious – trees die and when they do, they rerelease the C into the atmosphere as they rot.
- Open field burning of crop waste
Around the world field burning creates 330,000 gigatons of black carbon annually – which is the 2nd biggest contributor to global warming – and huge quantities of methane and NOx, greenhouse gases 25 and 298 times respectively more warming than CO2.