Updated: May 17, 2022
Hey, is it just me, or is it just brutally hot and humid outside? This year, in particular, the weather is so deranged. It’s hard for some people to even step out in this scorching heat and it's only March in India. But is it only India? Is it only Asia?
Aren’t we all, globally, witnessing one of the worst climatic conditions in years? Why is this happening? Let’s dig a little deeper….
Is it the first time that such intense and harsh climatic conditions are being experienced by the world? No. The last drastic climatic change faced globally was during the period of 2015-16 when El Nino and La Nina arrived.
What is El-Nino and La-Nina?
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
El Nino occurs every three to five years when the surface water of the equatorial Pacific becomes warmer than average and the easterly winds become weaker.
La Niña is a weather pattern that occurs in the Pacific Ocean. In this pattern, strong winds blow warm water at the ocean’s surface from South America to Indonesia. As the warm water moves west, cold water from the deep rises to the surface near the coast of South America.
In layman’s terms, these are the abnormal weather patterns that occur due to a rise in temperature, i.e., more than 0.5-degree Celsius. The global temperatures have certainly risen. But they’ve always been on the rise ever since. What made it so alarming, this time?
Since the period of Industrial Revolution many countries, especially the wealthy and thriving nations, have been responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases. During the extremities of climate face in the year 2015, when heat waves were nakedly looming out and the world was on a standstill, a total of a hundred and ninety-six countries got together in the Paris Summit/Agreement, under the United Nations Climate Change initiative and pledged to and for a legally binding treaty to limit global warming to a standardized 1.5-degree Celsius to achieve a neutralized climatic world by the mid-century, according to the United Nations Climate Change initiative.
With the negotiations going around the world, several countries like India and the US have stepped up to introduce climatic-specific goals to curb global warming.
A key point mentioned in the report according to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change), a body of the United Nations responsible for providing advanced data on climate changes that are man-made, states that the rise in temperature of 1.5-degree Celsius is not spread across globally in each hemisphere, but selectively in particular corners of the world.
Burning fossil fuels, burning of land, growth in factories, deforestation, etc. have contributed excessively, to raise global temperatures above one-degree Celsius. But why does a one-degree rise matter so much? Well for starters, heat waves will start to increase with every rise in the degree, plus if the temperature hits around five-degrees then the coastal regions and the water bodies and all the life grasping onto them, would be completely dismantled and eradicated from the face of the Earth. There would be more droughts, death rates would stagger, heat strokes and severe implications to the health would surface, with the already ongoing pandemic, loos and thunderstorms, and so many unprecedented more. Well, shit just got real.
No Relief for Coral Reefs
As the temperatures in the air rise, so does the temperature of the land and the water bodies. The oceans in particular absorb much of the heat and over the years the oceans have literally been a feeding machine, exposed and being fed the entirety of the heat waves.
Coral reefs are majestic and naturally beautiful. These organisms have a tendency to wear of their microscopic algae when exposed to intense heat. Sometimes, the recover and retain, but its more likely that they might just die in this entire process. So much so that the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has slowly turned into a ghastly white mass.
According to the authors of IPCC’s report, sea levels, too, will rise greatly, causing more floods than ever, with dams literally being helpless if this occurs.
As quoted by a marine biologist of the University of Queensland, Hoegh-Guldberg says,
“Something around 50% of the shallow water corals were killed literally over a couple of months, in some cases over a couple of weeks. If you extend that out into the future, we'll get to a point where the damage overwhelms the ability of corals to bounce back.”
Running Out of Names for Cyclonic Storms and Hurricanes
The world might soon run out of names for massive and overly-destructive storms, yet would still witness scarier levels of annihilation and loss of lives to a greater extent with every year. Take for instance, in India, recently, when the pandemic literally paralyzed the country (and the world alongside), in 2020, a nation-wide lockdown had been imposed. Starting with cyclone Amphan which caused major havoc in West Bengal, cyclone Nisarga hit Maharashtra soon after and then several other cyclonic occurrences followed in the same year as well as in the year 2021 when the nation was going through its second lockdown.
In the USA, around September 2021, Hurricane Ida literally swallowed almost the entire country. Several hurricanes are intensifying in the Gulf of Mexico, as well. This begs to ask the question:
Why are storms being ever so frequent?
Well, the answer is simple but alarming. Logic states that the warmer the air, the more water it can hold. So, as a result, with an increase in humidity and heat levels, rainfalls are even being experienced nowadays in winters, more than before, in some parts of the world. Plus, with more water holding capacity, a rise in devastating storms is much more likely in the nearby future. Along with this comes the increase in the death toll, farming being noticeably hampered, a general panic being echoed across the globe and severity in architectural destructions as well.
Professor of Geosciences, at the Princeton University, Gabriel Vecchi says,
"When we think about the odds, it's not simply that twice the warming gives you twice the odds. If we go on a path to three-degrees warming, more and more things that are unheard of or have been unheard of will become relatively commonplace."
Flora and Fauna in Greater Debts to Death
Who are we kidding?
Let’s get down to the act of forest fires. Forest fires over the years have caused a state of numbing in and around the area located, also polluting the air and making livelihood touch the peak of mass panic and death. Well, death massively of the trees, bushes, and other plants, along with the earthly abodes of several animals as well. Not only do the flora and fauna suffer, but also the humanity of humans is at a risk.
Secondly, there is a noticeable decline and destruction in the Amazon rainforest- the reserve that is still a major source for countering harsher climatic conditions, is now, but, a victim of wildfires, again. The government of Brazil has taken little or no counter measures to repair the damage done.
At an increased level of warming around two-degree Celsius, ice sheets around the region of Antarctica are more likely to melt than survive. The loss of the ice sheet at Greenland could well in turn add to the rise in sea levels.
As ever summer passes, there is a sharp decline in ice at the Arctic Ocean.
The Biggest Irony
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Framed and put into motion by Isaac Newton, a member of the human race, yet we are still too blind, to see the damage we are inflicting upon ourselves, not just the animals and plants.
Risks to economic growth, shortage of water supply, farming, livestock, health, etc. will keep on increasing as the days come by. As generations have witnessed now, if a flood arrives at a town, the rich have their resources to sustain for years, but the poorer class and the marginalized community are the ones who literally suffer at a larger extent. Reminds me of this popular scene from the movie Parasite (please watch if you haven’t yet!).
The cities and towns across shorelines suffer along with the fishermen and navy. The water bodies are still heavily polluted in more or less all the parts of India. In Western countries on the other hand sanitation is taken far more seriously. Still, as the temperatures keep rising to two-degrees, very soon certain illnesses and mortality rates might just go beyond the reach of being treated with.
With this said, the question still remains that what do we do about the alarming levels of temperature rise?
Honestly speaking, and all the EVS/EVM books published can help me in this, when I say that we have always been taught in school about how factories release toxic gases harmful to the air, how ships carry oil have the risk of leaking the oil in the larger water bodies and polluting it, how vehicle emissions need to be curbed, the fact that the water bodies should be kept as clean as possible, how the deforestation and the insane growth and replacement by multistoried buildings should be stopped etc. etc. etc.
But why has nothing ever been implemented? If they are implemented, why is the world still facing such drastic and severe temperature changes capable of slowly destroying the world at large? Where are the measures been preached in rallies to save the environment? What are larger and global organizations failing? Where are we lacking? Why are we still quiet about this?
Honestly, reader, I have no answer to the above questions. With the rise and rise of capitalism, the world is at a stake. Developed countries and the ones still ‘developing’ have to step up. But it this goes for each and every human, alive. I can go on about the ways in which global warming can be kept in control, but you know them already. Frankly, they are still in our school books, waiting to be implied and save the face of the Earth, because it’s now or never.