By Chaitali Wadhwa
Arctic temperatures have risen 2 °C since the 1970s, leading to a 40 per cent dip in the minimum summer ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean.
60 years ago in the continental United States, the number of new record high temperatures recorded around the country each year was roughly equal to the number of new record lows. Now, the number of new record highs recorded each year is twice the number of new record lows.
Average global surface temperatures have increased by 0.8C since 1900 and the last 30 years have been the warmest in 800 years.
Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are the highest for at least 800,000 years and 40 per cent higher than they were in the 19th century.
Penguins in South America and Antarctica are struggling to cope with extreme environmental conditions linked to climate change, research has shown.
Over the past two decades, global average sea levels are estimated to have increased by about 3.2mm (0.12inches) per year and the overall observed increase since 1900 is about 20cm.
The evidence is pretty clear. Global warming and climate change is speeding up like never before. Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner.
In a foreword to “Climate Change Evidence and Causes”, Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, say that climate change is now more certain than ever and that many lines of evidence point to human activity as the cause.
Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gasses produced by human activities. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the air have increase by about 40 per cent from 1800 to 2012, largely due to the burning of fossil fuels.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.
Changes in extreme weather threaten human health as well as prosperity. More frequent and more severe extreme weather events are more likely to destabilize ecosystems and cripple essential components of human livelihood, such as food production, transportation infrastructure, and water management. Death, disease, displacement, and economic hardship may follow, as we have seen with recent hurricanes, floods, heat waves, and droughts.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) noted in November 2013 that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2012, continuing an upward and accelerating trend which is driving climate change and will shape the future of our planet for hundreds and thousands of years.
It has been known for some time now that developing countries will be affected the most. Reasons vary from lacking resources to cope, compared to developed nations, immense poverty, regions that many developing countries are in happen to be the ones where severe weather will hit the most, small island nations area already seeing sea level rising, and so on.
Chaitali Wadhwa: A pass out from Bluebells School International, Chaitali is currently a 1st year student at Amity Law School Delhi, IP University. She is passionate about writing and loves to compose poems. She likes to spend her free time reading novels and also enjoys watching television. She aspires to be a successful environmental lawyer and would like to bring justice to those whose voices go unheard. Have a look at her blogwww.chaitaliwadhwa.blogspot.com. Feel free to contact her at[email protected]