With the Earth’s polar caps going iceless, Coral reefs bleached to chalky white, stronger storms and hurricanes and more are not something of the future but of the PRESENT and it is due to worsen as per the findings of a new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC.
Let’s take a look at the report’s predictions as they give us a look at the scary view of potential changes that would impact societies and our natural world.
Glaciers and ice sheets: With glaciers and ice sheets not only shrinking but also disappearing fast, the Greenland ice sheet lost an average 278 billion tons of ice per year from 2006 to 2015. This can cause the average global sea levels to rise about 7.7 millimetres (0.3 inches) a decade. Not only that but July 31 shows a record-breaking 57 per cent of that ice sheet melting. Even glaciers from the Himalayas to Chile and Canada have seen big melts and are said to be losing 220 billion tons of ice per year.
Sea ice: Sea Ice that has blanketed the Arctic Sea, that plays an important role in reflecting sunlight away from Earth, in winter expands and thickens, while it shrinks and thins in summer. But even that ice is shrinking. Less ice means more water being exposed, which is dark. Dark water absorbs more light, which means intensifying feverish temperatures in polar regions.
Permafrost: Frozen soil which is known as Permafrost is also experiencing surprising warming across the globe. This soil that is rich carbon is warming at an average of 0.29 degree C from 2007 to 2016 as per the IPC reports. The ground now is estimated to contain twice as much carbon dioxide as is in the atmosphere while it also contains methane, another greenhouse gas.
Ocean warming: Oceans have taken in more than 90 per cent of the climate’s excess heat and the marine heatwaves are getting more severe and lasting longer than they did ten years back. It is reported that these hot waters will get even hotter given the current emissions scenario. Climate-driven shifts in the ocean species are already shrinking the populations of food fish.
Ocean acidification: The oceans are not only absorbing heat but are also estimated to be taking in 20 to 30 per cent of the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and hence the seas are becoming more acidic. This acidity will make it difficult for creatures like snails, crabs and shrimps to build their shells while it also depletes seawater of the minerals that help corals build their exoskeletons.
Sea level rise: Sea levels are on the rise and given the current emissions scenario, that swell is going to continue. The reason being, melting ice sheets and glaciers. With an increase in the sea levels come greater flooding and coastal erosion. Already half of the coastal wetlands have disappeared over the last century, due to the increase in seawater.
Extreme weather: Climate change due to humans have also increased the amount of wind and rain in association with some hurricanes. Theses storms will get more intense due to the emission rate and may also result in bigger storm surges. The weather disturbances are expected to get more hazardous and may cause dryer droughts and heavier downpour.