Ten Year Challenge: Earth Edition

Global warming continues to affect our world

Kaitlyn Willard, Features Editor

Artwork by Kaitlyn Willard
The mass of the ice sheets have drastically decreased by 413 gigatons per year.

With these current subzero, skin-stinging temperatures, jokes are cracked about how a little global warming would be nice right about now.

Many people enjoy warmer temperatures and not having to worry about frostbite when outside, however, global warming is not just warmer temperatures in the wintertime, but a feature of climate change: the effects that come with the rise of temperature on earth such the rising of temperatures.

Just because the degrees are negative does not mean climate change isn’t in effect. It is much more than having a warm winter. And just because it is cold does not mean we are not experiencing a dangerous pattern of warming on the surface.

To some, climate change is merely a myth. Some say that as planet Earth gains more years, the temperature and climate is bound to change; nothing stays the same for 4.54 billion years. Afterall, it continues to get frigid in the winter and hot in the summer. While that isn’t entirely incorrect – our planet has lots of years under its belt and is bound to change – the inhabitants of this planet have to take major responsibility for the rising temperatures.

According to climate.gov, scientists have hypothesized modifications for the climate since the 1800s, however, they weren’t sure what would dominate: global cooling or warming.

When the Earth goes through a cooling period it is caused by the reflection of sunlight due to pollution. On the contrary, warming periods are caused by greenhouse gases such as the burning of coal, gas and oil.

During the 1970s scientists found more evidence of global warming rather than cooling. This is where the term global warming comes from.

For years, humans have been releasing harmful chemicals, carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere breaking down the ozone layer causing the a rise of temperatures. It is no coincidence that the warmest years have been since 2010. According to NASA, 2016 is the warmest year on record and most of this warming occurred within the past 35 years.

Since the late 1800s, – after the industrial revolution – the average surface temperature rose about 1.62 degrees. This minor increase may seem harmless, but, 1.62 degrees wreaks major havok. With this rise rainfall becomes more intense, a factor in hurricanes. The sea level rose approximately eight inches since the 1900s caused by a decrease in a loss of ice shelf mass. In addition, these ice sheets are a main source of freshwater, but it is rapidly decreasing and these sheets are finite.

There are multiple ways to slow down the process of climate change. Thankfully, more people are aware of this and try to become more “green” and eco-friendly. Families, businesses such as Ikea and restaurants like Green Belly utilize recycling bins. Hybrid cars run on battery to decrease the amount of gas being used and released into the air. Saving the planet can be as simple as riding a bike or walking rather than using a car or recycling water bottles rather than throwing them away. Hawaii fines people who don’t bring their own grocery bags to lessen the use of paper and plastic bags. Simple actions such as these will help the save this planet.

The effects of climate change are rapidly increasing. Something needs to be done before the oceans take over land, the quality of air is unbearable and freshwater is scarce. Don’t rely on the future to help this issue. If there is nothing done now, there may not even be a future.