Global Warming All Around Us: Current Signs of Climate Change
Amidst all the talk of climate change in our society, there’s no need to blindly accept the claims and statistics made by the media. Strong evidence is visible in our daily lives – and has been for a number of years – that clearly points to global warming as its cause.
When most people hear “global warming,” hotter temperatures come to mind, and for good reason; heat waves have pervaded our daily lives and will continue to do so as the planet continues to warm. An extreme heat wave hit Europe for two weeks in 2003 and claimed 35,000 lives as a result of daily temperatures breaking 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is estimated that in only several decades, summers such as this will become the norm. Heat waves are felt most severely in highly developed urban areas where concrete and asphalt absorb heat especially quickly.
As temperatures rise all over the globe, precious ice has begun to melt at a rapid rate. More than a million miles of sea ice has disappeared from the arctic, and the polar ice cap – according to NASA – is melting as much as 9 percent each decade. When this ice melts, it flows into the world’s waterways and contributes to rising sea levels. The past century has seen a sea level rise of 4 to 8 inches worldwide.
Hurricanes have increased in number and severity in the past century as well, partly because of warmer ocean temperatures. Rising sea levels are another contributing factor to these disasters. The National Wildlife Federation predicts that wind speeds of hurricanes will increase by as much as 13 percent, and rainfall will increase by as much as 31 percent in the next hundred years.
Some climate change results even more directly affect humans. Cases of asthma among children, for example, have increased due to fossil fuel combustion. Meanwhile, allergies have been affected by record-breaking pollen counts all over the United States; as the Earth warms, pollen-making plants have longer growing seasons and thus produce more pollen.
“Global Warming is Affecting Weather,” National Wildlife Federation
“Global Warming Increases Asthma,” SciDevNet
“Temperatures Rising: Global Warming Turns up the Heat on Human Health,” Natural Resources Defense Council