The effects of global climate change are becoming more and more apparent. Over the past few years, there’s been an increase in wildfires, decrease of snow in northern regions and record-high temperatures. With one of the warmest winters in the Great Basin area, it’s shocking when people still confess to denying climate change.
On Friday, Feb. 7, Esperanza Base in Antarctica recorded its highest temperature for the continent, 18.3 degrees C, which translates to about 65 degrees F.
It was warmer in Antarctica than in Reno that day.
Two days later on Sunday, Feb. 9, the single hottest day recorded reached almost 70 degrees F.
It’s important to remember it is summertime in the Southern Hemisphere at the moment, so it’s not uncommon for landscapes to experience warmer temperatures—but record high temperatures are a severe concern.
Yale Environment 360 reported the coldest part of Antarctica—East Antarctica—is beginning to melt. The polar plateau of East Antarctica can reach temperatures of -144 degrees F. Now it is shrinking, and 20 percent of the ice on the continent has melted.
While East Antarctica is beginning to melt, the island chain of the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest melting places on Earth—rising nearly six degrees F over the last 50 years.
On Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Pine Island Glacier lost an area of ice twice the size of Washington D.C. This trend has become more and more of a common occurrence.
The Doomsday Glacier is located in West Antarctica underneath the Antarctic Peninsula. Its true name is the Thwaites Glacier, nicknamed Doomsday because of its sheer size. The glacier is roughly the size of the U.K. Its melting is responsible for four percent of the world’s rise in sea level. If the entire thing melts, sea levels will rise over a half a meter. If the ice melts from all of Antarctica, we’re all underwater.
Climate shifts occur in part to fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. These gasses radiate back to the ground and cause unnatural warming. Fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses are caused by various different sources, but, most notably, and dangerously, by human production.
Large corporations looking to make more profit as opposed to improving the quality of life for the human population are leading the earth to a hot, dismal end.
Climate change deniers use the argument that the world has been through extreme climate change before, so it couldn’t possibly be that bad nowadays. While the Earth has experienced extreme warming and cooling in geological history, it seldom occurred when humans have occupied it. And the severe heating and cooling of past earthly climates was due to natural shifts in weather and geological changes, not human carbon footprints.
So how many more wake-up calls do we need before we realize our home is in trouble? The longer we ignore record-high temperatures and changes in weather, the more likely we are to end humankind itself.
Sarah Strang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sarahstrang100.