If Antarctica were to completely melt it could raise sea levels by 200 feet. Antarctica contains ninety percent of earth’s fresh water so if the ice sheets and glaciers were to melt it would be a huge potential contributor to sea levels rising rapidly. For decades human activities have been contributing to global warming and climate change by increasing the levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere causing many drastic changes on earth. For example Antarctica hit a new record of 64.9 degrees. This is a huge shock to most since this continent is known for being one of the driest and coldest places on planet earth. Research stations have been recording data and temperatures since 1961. progressively over the decades Antarctica has been growing warmer. The warming going on in the arctic is just one huge part of warming trends that have been happening all over the planet. Researchers say the arctic has been getting warmer due to greenhouse gas emissions which are being released by humans. Antarctica has always been one of the coldest places on earth, back in 2019 there were major signs of glaciers and ice sheets melting rapidly. Snow melting in Antarctica is rare and does not normally happen but according to NASA they have conducted a new study by using technology that can monitor rapid changes happening to glaciers and the ross ice shelf. And research shows the ice in Antarctica is starting to melt inland over the coast. They have also stated that the cause of the ice melting at rapid rates is due to surface temperatures rising. The ross ice shelf is described as a freezer door keeping the old air in and the warm air out which protects the ice and glaciers but the smaller it gets the less effective it becomes. All of this is caused by global warming and climate change which is occurring more frequently due to human ways and error. A change in human behavior needs to happen now to save the planet from global warming. Everyday there are frequent changes in weather patterns, it is affecting the animals and changing their behavior and patterns. Last but not least the planet is overheating drastically.
Another drastic change in the planet’s weather patterns are the raging bushfires in australia. Australia has already had numerous wildfires to begin with but recently they are becoming more frequent and even more dangerous. The fires are amplifying the heat in Australia making it hotter which is making way for even more wildfires to flame up making it dangerous to live, breathe and lead a normal life for people and animals. These fires are flaring up more rapidly due to global warming and climate change. Due to the fact of changes humans are continuously making to the planet. The Australia wildfires are causing catastrophic destruction and death for not only people but animals too. According to recent reports one billion animals have perished during the Australian wildfires. In Australia there are over 600,000 animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the world which is cause for concern because there is a chance they could become extinct. One of Australia’s main concerns is the population of our fuzzy friends the koala bears, along with so many other animals they are perishing in the devastating wildfires at a rapid rate. Even though no one is completely sure how many have died exactly, they can only estimate about 30 percent have died since the island fires have started. For example these fuzzy animals are slow in movement and australia’s trees are made out of eucalyptus oil which is flammable and these trees are also home to the koala so if and when a fire starts the fire consumes the tree before the koala even has the chance to escape killing lots of the koala population. Another concern for Australia is the thirsty animals, specifically the camels they are roaming and damaging people’s homes. They are tracking and finding air conditioning units and taking the water out of them. This is becoming a problem for the residents because when searching for the AC units they destroy the houses in an attempt to find water. More that aren’t as well known as koalas that live on kangaroo island are the glossy black cockatoo and the dunnart or even insects and plants that were part of the ecosystem are being greatly affected and t has been suffering the fate of Australia wildfires. Some of them were already going extinct before this such as the Cockatoo only 300-375 existed before the fires flared up. Another major concern are the mouse sized dunnart animals which is another name for genus Sminthopsis, narrow-footed marsupials they are very small but equally as important to Australia. Christopher Dickman, a University of Sydney ecology professor says although koalas and kangaroos are the symbols for wildlife out here in australia they are not a concern for extinction, the more pressing ecological concern for animals that can only be found in australia. Extinction is irrevocable loss of a species of animal. Christopher dickman also mentioned that half a billion animals are being affected due to the fires spreading. Australia’s wildfires don’t only affect wildlife they also affect livestock. Recent reports from the federal agriculture official say “ 100,000 cattle will die before the fires end”. The livestock are dying at alarming rates just like wildlife.
Ocean acidification is another major negative effect of climate change and global warming. The ocean acidification is rising and has been since the beginning of the industrial revolution according to NASA. Because of the carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere the oceans are absorbing the co2. Ocean acidification is “calcification rates in reef-building and reef-associated organisms by altering seawater chemistry through decreases in pH”. It’s a serious issue that is increasing rapidly. Research on ocean acidification shows that the high acidity levels are affecting “predator prey” interactions. According to a study done at california university one type of species that has been affected by the increasingly high acidity levels is the sea snail they aren’t escaping their predators fast enough. Research shows that in different PH levels the sea snails react differently to when a sea star is close by. It also shows how it affects predator and prey interactions due to acidity levels. For example the higher the acidity levels are the more impaired the snail was from the escape route but the however if PH levels were normal the snail was able to react normally. A normal reaction for a sea snail is when it senses a sea star under normal conditions and regular PH levels it will flee. but under different circumstances and irregular PH levels the snail fails to leave the tide pool. These odd behaviors are expected to become more frequent due to higher acidity levels located in small tide pools. Even though more research is needed to completely understand why the snails react differently to the high acidity levels it is shown that the ph levels are increasing due to human behaviors and the releasing of carbon gasses and emissions.
Coral bleaching is another problem taking over the oceans. Coral bleaching is what happens when ocean temperatures get to warm the coral will begin to expel zooxanthellae which are located within the corals tissues causing them to turn white. Mass coral bleaching is a wide spread disease in the oceans and is becoming more common and is affecting the oceans coral reefs ecosystem. It’s killing them and the ocean more rapidly than ever before. All of this is due to human activity and the rapid release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Because of human behavior such as the releasing of carbon and gas emissions and deforestation and oil drilling many negative changes to earth’s ecosystem and atmosphere such as a change in weather patterns heating of the earth, and drastic changes in animal behavior and much more the earth is in a deep hole that will be hard to dig out of unless people start making changes now.
According to NASA’s recent reports on sea levels rising are caused primarily by two factors that include melting ice sheets and glaciers and sea water warming.
The amazon stores twenty percent of the world’s oxygen, A myriad of animals call the amazon home. It is also the world’s largest tropical rainforest. All of these are amazing facts about the Amazon, but what happens when humans start the deforestation process? It starts to affect life in the Amazon. It affects agriculture and it affects the fresh water supply. Before deforestation the amazon used to store carbon emission but now according to Eaton, humans are causing deforestation and killing the trees because people are releasing carbon emissions are now back into the atmosphere which is a prominent factor in global warming. The amazon rainforest used to capture the extra co2 and grow new leaves and logs and branches but it has now become too much for the forest to handle and has now done a reverse and started releasing more co2 into the atmosphere, which is changing the way of the forest. With the release of so much gas the amazon is becoming hotter and drier which has another effect of starting fires. This does not include the fact that if deforestation continues it is predicted half the amazon could die off. Because the amazon is becoming drier, fires are starting. And now the forest is also suffering. Not only are natural fires rare in the amazon but they are becoming more frequent due to humans starting fires. With the amazon being more dry fires are burning tons of land in the amazon. According to Steven Mufson from the Washington post the amazon is on the verge of becoming a completely drier and different ecosystem which is not good nor beneficial for the millions of plants, animals and species that depend on the amazon rainforest.
Although some researchers from natural climate cycles say that the earth’s warming is a part of it’s natural cycles. They believe that the earth is just going through a warming period. Around 2000 years ago the earth was going through an ice age and a hundred million years ago the planet was so warm that creatures similar to alligators roamed about near the north pole. According to Natural Climate Cycles this article suggests the sun goes through periods of change that are not big enough to cause temperature changes here on earth. But the sun goes through these changes every couple tens of thousands of years. Even though no one is completely sure of what causes these changes in cycles they are believed to be derived from the changes in the sun. Although evidence is not substantial this is what some researchers believe has to do with the drastic changes in weather pattern and warming cycles. Another reason to believe co2 is being emitted into the atmosphere naturally is according to Burton volcanoes produced a large amount of co2 when an eruption occurs. But this is still only a fraction of how much humans have produced over the years.
Human activities such as deforestation, coal and fossil fuels burning and changes to landscape such as cement release tons of carbon emission into the atmosphere which has been proven to be a concerning factor of the global warming and climate change crisis. Burning gasoline is another way humans have contributed to releasing co2 into the atmosphere. Not only does it contribute to air pollution but it destroys the atmosphere. The U.S energy information administration has stated the united state’s uses about “392 million gallons motor oil per day in 2018”. Most of this gas is used for transportation. This article also points out that by burning gasoline that does not contain ethanol produces almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. If this pattern of bad human behavior does not change it can keep majorly affecting the planet. and if something is not done about deforestation and the frequent and rapid emissions of carbon release then the earth will continue to suffer and grow to hotter and unsustainable temperatures, the weather will keep having dramatic and unpredictable changes if the people on this planet do not reduce the amount of carbon emissions going into the atmosphere.
- “Sea Level.” NASA, NASA, 10 Feb. 2020, climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/.
- Eaton, Sam. “The Amazon Used to Be a Hedge against Climate Change. Those Days May Be over.” Public Radio International, interactive.pri.org/2018/10/amazon-carbon/science.html.
- Steven Mufson, Andrew Freedman. “What You Need to Know about the Amazon Rainforest Fires.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 27 Aug. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-amazon-rainforest-fires/2019/08/27/ac82b21e-c815-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html.
- Ocean Acidification Affects Predator-Prey Response. , 2016. sirsissuesresearcher, http://nclive.org/cgi-bin/nclsm?url=http://search.proquest.comhttps://explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2264342950?accountid=13217.“Natural Climate Cycles.” Natural Climate Cycles | Climate Change Resource Center, www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/climate-basics/climate-primer/natural-climate-cycles.
- crisp, David. “The Atmosphere: Getting a Handle on Carbon Dioxide – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” NASA, NASA, 16 Oct. 2019, climate.nasa.gov/news/2915/the-atmosphere-getting-a-handle-on-carbon-dioxide/.
- “U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis.” Gasoline and the Environment – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), www.eia.gov/energyexplained/gasoline/gasoline-and-the-environment.php.