18 Mar Morris Esformes Discusses How Climate Change is Affecting the United States
In January 2019, huge swaths of the United States were covered in a plume of frigid arctic air. This system brought with it the coldest weather America has seen in nearly two decades. Temperatures in the midwest dipped to 60 degrees below zero, and was responsible, according to latest reports, for the deaths of 12 people. According to the Midwest Regional Climate Center, more than 680 weather records were broken during January’s polar vortex. At one point, it was reportedly colder in Chicago than it was in Antarctica, Alaska and the North Pole.
We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future.
Climate Change Is Causing Extreme Weather Events Across the U.S.
Since 2005, nine of the ten warmest years have been recorded since reliable data became available in 1880. Greenhouse gas numbers have risen to their highest levels in more than 800,000 years. Gavin A, Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, is quoted in The New York Times as saying “We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future.”
Schmidt continued, “It’s here. It’s now.”
Climate change is causing an increase in extreme weather event (see Morris Esformes Thrive Article for more info). Hawaii, in early February, was ravaged by an intense storm that brought wind gusts up to 191 mph and 60 foot waves crashing on the island’s shores.The effects of the high-impact storm are wide-ranging and devastating, but they’re not the first of their kind.
The record for rainfall in a 24-hour period was set last April in Kauai, when nearly 50 inches poured from the sky, and high ocean temperatures caused extreme coral bleaching throughout the region in 2015.
A February 2019 report from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) stated that snow was recorded in Hawaii’s Polipoli State Park, possibly at the lowest recorded elevations in state history, further evidence that only the worst is yet to come.
Harmful Weather Events Increase in Severity
While I’ve outlined the devastating weather events over the years in Hawaii, what’s more concerning is that it only alludes to one state. Currently, climate scientists are saying the trend of intense weather systems is only going to grow worse unless we make extreme changes.
A journal published by Nature Communications claims that many cities will face “novel climates with no modern equivalent” by the 2080s. The imposing climate crisis will devastate animal habitats, coastal communities, ocean health and lay waste to the ecosystem.
To address these dramatic climate change effects, House Democrats held a climate change hearing on Feb. 12. While the issue of climate change is highly polarized in modern American politics, the widespread effects of extreme weather events on display across the globe is undeniable.
Although, there is hope. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey taken of 27,612 people in 26 countries from May 14 to Aug. 12, 2018, global climate change is seen as the top international threat. However, while the issue may be recognized globally, cyberattacks from other countries ranked highest according to surveyed Americans.
As a college student, it is apparent this is an issue that we will be forced to face within my lifetime. The world is changing and we all have a responsibility to leave the planet habitable for future generations. There is growing concern over the issue, and it seems the world is waking up to the reality of our current situation. But will we be willing or able to make these changes before it’s too late?