Earth’s climate has been changing for many decades. Now, the world is threatened by three effects of the change.
By the time today’s children have become the adults in authority, they will face a world unbelievably different from ours, today. These changes will fundamentally affect where we will live and how we will survive and interact with each other.
The world is changing. If we are lucky, the change might require 60 or 70 more years. If unlucky, if the change is too rapid, the environment could be pushed into a chaotic jump … a sudden change into a much warmer, more violent reality. As our first sentence indicates, this challenging scenario feels unbelievable. Some people alive now will never accept it – their babies today, grown into adults tomorrow, are the ones forced to cope.
Here, we discuss the 3 effects actually happening due to change. In another post, we will discuss human response to all this.
- The global mean temperature will rise, some places much hotter, others perhaps cooler. || For example, destroy the Atlantic circulation and Europe could lose its winter warmth.
- Global mean sea level will rise, and ocean shore lines will retreat. Expect a sea level rise of between 30 cm (1 foot) and 7 meters (23 ft). || LESSER effect with smooth temperature growth to less than 2 ºC; GREATER effect with collapse of the West Antarctic ice shelf and melt of the Greenland glaciers (probably with temperature change exceeding 2º C).
- Storms will become much more violent, though probably not more frequent. || Rate of rise for ‘storms-per-year’ will be much lower than the damage-per-storm rate.
The question ought to be about how the people of the Earth work with the results, but we will discuss here : what is happening now?
The changes have started, now
Those “will” words in the bullets sound dogmatic; but the change is happening – not the “just-you-wait, you’ll be sorry” soon, but in current now. World temperatures are going up; local air temperatures are rising, which puts into question the survival of the local residents. Water temperatures are rising, have risen for decades. This is making ocean storms more energetic and shore life miserable. Heating is penetrating deeper below ocean surfaces, and is causing grounded icebergs everywhere to melt at the bottom where they rest on land. This melt at the base has accelerated the rise in the sea levels for as long as reliable records have existed (back to the mid 1800s).
Temperature ( T ) extremes are growing
T changes make up the easiest effect to notice. But, Who cares? It was awfully hot when I was young. Fact: as a boy in Kentucky I vividly recall summer time highs of 104º F or 40º C. (We will abbreviate that as 104F/\40C .) But projections now say that if we do nothing, it could reach 122F/\50C. Continue reading