Shocking Evidences of Climate Change

  • With the increase in concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the pre-industrial period, the planet has warmed by about 0.76° C. The eleven hottest years in the past 6,50,000 years have occurred between 1991 and 2006. The hottest year on record was 2004 and the second hottest year on record was 2005. It is projected that the warming will continue to occur and by the end of this century the planet will warm by a further 1.4° to 5.8°C.
  • Thanks to global warming, glaciers and ice packs all over the world are shrinking much faster in the last three decades than they did in the past. We have already lost the magnificent ‘Snows of Kilimanjaro’, the glaciers straddling Africa’s highest mountain peak. Even the Arctic sea ice has reduced by 40% since 1950, and the Arctic ocean may very soon become ice free. The highly unstable West Antarctic ice sheet and Greenland ice sheet are also projected to disappear if there is a further increase in temperatures by 1.2°C above pre- industrial levels of 1850.
  • With the melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets and due to the heating up of oceans (thermal expansion as liquids expand with rise in temperature), the average sea level is predicted to rise sharply. Over the last 150 years, global sea level has risen by about 20 cm. A further rise of up to 59 cm is projected by 2100 due to global warming. This would mean that as many as 90 million people around the world could have their homes flooded every year! Over four million square kilometres of vegetation is projected to die back within the next 100 years which is practically equivalent to the whole of the Brazilian Amazon leading to a massive venting of carbon into the atmosphere, as much as one billion tonnes of carbon within a century!
  • Nearly 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere each day. If worldwide CO emissions continue to double every 30 years, it will exceed 1,000 parts per million by volume 2 (ppmv) of CO in the atmosphere by the end of the century which is about four times the pre- 2 industrial levels, and nearly three times higher than the present CO levels! 2 As a result of erratic climatic conditions such as heavier rainfall, longer periods of drought and increased frequency and intensity of storms and hurricanes, crop production would be severely affected especially in regions like Asia and Africa. This could result in more frequent and severe famines. It is predicted that agricultural production could drop by 25% this century. Coupled with a rising population and decreasing land area available for agriculture, this itself could spell doom for the human population.
  • In many countries the amount of rainfall received may change drastically. Consequently, about 3 billion people would suffer and have problems getting the water that they need for drinking, cooking, washing and for watering their crops. Higher temperatures are expected to expand the range of some dangerous “vector-borne” diseases, such as malaria, which kills 1 million people annually, most of them children.
  • This could all happen within a century from now if we do nothing to curb our growing emissions. Such a future would be catastrophic! We have no more time to waste. A delay of five to ten years in cutting greenhouse gas emissions could make stabilization of the atmosphere almost impossible. If that were to happen, the planet would soon become a Human-free Zone!!!
  • With the increase in concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the pre-industrial period, the planet has warmed by about 0.76° C. The eleven hottest years in the past 6,50,000 years have occurred between 1991 and 2006. The hottest year on record was 2004 and the second hottest year on record was 2005. It is projected that the warming will continue to occur and by the end of this century the planet will warm by a further 1.4° to 5.8°C.
  • Thanks to global warming, glaciers and ice packs all over the world are shrinking much faster in the last three decades than they did in the past. We have already lost the magnificent ‘Snows of Kilimanjaro’, the glaciers straddling Africa’s highest mountain peak. Even the Arctic sea ice has reduced by 40% since 1950, and the Arctic ocean may very soon become ice free. The highly unstable West Antarctic ice sheet and Greenland ice sheet are also projected to disappear if there is a further increase in temperatures by 1.2°C above pre- industrial levels of 1850.
  • With the melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets and due to the heating up of oceans (thermal expansion as liquids expand with rise in temperature), the average sea level is predicted to rise sharply. Over the last 150 years, global sea level has risen by about 20 cm. A further rise of up to 59 cm is projected by 2100 due to global warming. This would mean that as many as 90 million people around the world could have their homes flooded every year! Over four million square kilometres of vegetation is projected to die back within the next 100 years which is practically equivalent to the whole of the Brazilian Amazon leading to a massive venting of carbon into the atmosphere, as much as one billion tonnes of carbon within a century!
  • Nearly 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere each day. If worldwide CO emissions continue to double every 30 years, it will exceed 1,000 parts per million by volume 2 (ppmv) of CO in the atmosphere by the end of the century which is about four times the pre- 2 industrial levels, and nearly three times higher than the present CO levels! 2 As a result of erratic climatic conditions such as heavier rainfall, longer periods of drought and increased frequency and intensity of storms and hurricanes, crop production would be severely affected especially in regions like Asia and Africa. This could result in more frequent and severe famines. It is predicted that agricultural production could drop by 25% this century. Coupled with a rising population and decreasing land area available for agriculture, this itself could spell doom for the human population.
  • In many countries the amount of rainfall received may change drastically. Consequently, about 3 billion people would suffer and have problems getting the water that they need for drinking, cooking, washing and for watering their crops. Higher temperatures are expected to expand the range of some dangerous “vector-borne” diseases, such as malaria, which kills 1 million people annually, most of them children.
  • This could all happen within a century from now if we do nothing to curb our growing emissions. Such a future would be catastrophic! We have no more time to waste. A delay of five to ten years in cutting greenhouse gas emissions could make stabilization of the atmosphere almost impossible. If that were to happen, the planet would soon become a Human-free Zone!!!

From WWF-INDIA – Teachers Guide on Climate Change

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