Climate Change

Topics: Global warming, Carbon dioxide, Greenhouse gas Pages: 8 (1641 words) Published: January 17, 2015

To put it in its simplest terms, climate change refers to the long term change in the earth’s temperature, particularly an increase in the average atmospheric temperature ( Although there are some natural causes for climate change, most scientists are in agreement that humans are at least in part responsible for some of the effects we have already seen and must therefore take corrective action immediately to slow the process before it is too late and irreversible catastrophic damage has been done. The consequences of climate change, also known as global warming include extreme weather instances such as extensive drought, severe hurricanes and tornadoes, increased wild fires and melting of the polar caps ( In addition, there are hotter, longer lasting heat waves causing added health issues and even death, especially to the already frail elderly or those who are already sick and may be more easily susceptible to health risks ( Since 1870, sea levels have risen by about eight inches globally. Coral reefs are in danger due to the warmer water temperatures and higher sea levels. The coral reefs are lacking the sun they need to thrive and are becoming diseased. Here in the United States, temperatures have risen by two degrees over the last 50 years and precipitation is up by 5% ( According to, the 2000’s was the hottest decade on record in the US and 2012 was the hottest year ever. With the rise of sea levels, comes the loss of land across the world. Globally the average land loss is eight inches. What that means to America is we are shrinking. Those in danger are people who live closest to the shoreline. It varies storm by storm, but those living closest to the shoreline during each mega storm, such as Hurricane Sandy, are in critical danger of losing not only their personal property and their lives but the actual earth beneath their feet. Everything could all be swept away by the wind and sea. There are currently almost five million Americans living within four feet of the ocean at high tide. It is expected that over the next century, sea levels will rise by anywhere from one to four feet ( Climate change affects rainfall as well and it can be devastating. A warmer planet means the air can hold more water vapor. That means when it rains it pours. The United States has seen record precipitation and flooding “significantly above average” (, especially since 1991. The Northeast alone has seen a 71% increase in precipitation since 1958 ( Nowhere has climate change left its mark more so than in Alaska. Due to melting glaciers no longer insulating the land, arctic storms are battering the now unshielded coastline that used to be protected by the now steadily melting glaciers. Additionally, 80% of the state has permafrost beneath its surface and as it thaws, the ground is literally giving way causing damage to roads and infrastructure. Currently, Alaska is spending about $10 million annually in repairs due to permafrost thawing and is projecting $5.6 to 7.6 billion for infrastructure repairs by 2080 ( Extreme heat waves are becoming commonplace. Texas had one of the “hottest and driest summers on record” ( in 2011 reaching over 100 degrees for 40 days in a row. It’s projected that if we continue on the same path, we could have a “once every 20 years extreme heat day” every two to three years by the year 2100 ( In addition, we are feeling some of the driest conditions we’ve experienced in some 800 years. This has resulted in a loss to agriculture of as much as $10 billion in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 & 2012 ( Because we have more heat and drought, we have the potential for more wildfires. We have had record setting wildfires in both 2007 and 2011. And to make matters worse, these very wildfires, as dangerous and...
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