Recent Stats About Climate Change
- As of May 2020, the concentration of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) in our atmosphere was 416 Parts Per Million – the highest it has ever been.
- According to NASA, the global temperatures across 2019 were 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer, compared to the average of the 20th century, making 2019 the second warmest year recorded (bettered only by 2015).
- Deforestation causes 11% of all human global greenhouse gas emissions. This is comparable to the amounts of emissions caused by every global passenger vehicle combined.
- Tropical forests are extremely crucial in storing carbon; they can offer at least 33% of the mitigation action required. However, only 3% of climate funding is dedicated to nature-based solutions.
- Climate solutions like the restoration of degraded forests can provide up to 39 jobs for every million dollars spent – a job creation ratio that is six times higher than that of the gas and oil industry.
- Global land degradation affects approximately 3.2 billion people. Restoration is not only crucial but cost-effective – for every US dollar invested in restoration efforts, the benefits are approximately 10 times higher.
- Climate change effects – such as floods, heatwaves, droughts, sea-level rise, and extreme weather events – can affect up to 11% of the world’s population (800 million people).
- Compared to tropical forests, coastal mangroves can store up to 10 times greater quantities of carbon – yet coastal mangroves account for only 0.7% of forests around the world.
- If mangroves forests continue to deteriorate at the current rate, they might vanish within the next 100 years. This loss will release tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide and eliminate a crucial cover against extreme weather for people living in coastal areas.
- Compared to human-designed interventions, conservation of ecosystems is more cost-effective. For instance, preserving the coral reef in the Maldives costs around four times less compared to the construction of a sea wall – even when you take 10 years of maintenance costs into account.
What is Climate Change and How is it Measured?
Climate change is defined as the change in mean conditions – like rainfall and temperature – in a particular area over a lengthy time period. According to NASA scientists, the temperature of the Earth’s surface is increasing, and a high proportion of the warmest years on the planet have occurred during the last two decades.
As indicated above, the average surface temperature of the Earth is used to measure climate change. Traditionally, scientists use a 30-year period to spot genuine climate trends – this helps to nullify the effects of any year-on-year fluctuations.
With greenhouse gases trapping more heat energy from the sun, oceans have to absorb higher amounts of heat, resulting in an increase in the surface temperature and levels of the seas. These alterations in ocean currents and temperatures will result in changes in climate patterns globally.
Volcanic eruptions, such as solar radiations, can change climate through the emission of aerosols – this leads to an alteration in climate patterns. By keeping track of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide and measuring oxygen isotope ratios, scientists can measure the chemical composition of air and water.
The weather condition patterns in a particular location are known as ‘climate’. Rain gauges and thermometers are used to collect data about the weather. These days, satellites are also used to collect temperature data to make sure that there are no false readings that can often be caused by heat.
The Future of Climate Change
Higher temperatures will lead to higher evaporation rates, thereby ‘speeding up’ the water cycle. A higher atmospheric quantity of water vapors will lead to higher precipitation. Several models predict an average precipitation increase of 3-5%, with a minimum increase of 1% and a maximum increase of 8%. However, these precipitation changes will not be distributed evenly – certain areas will witness more snow, while others will observe lesser rains.
Melting Ice and Snow
Warmer climates lead to the melting of ice and snow. Compared to winter precipitation, the summer melting of ice sheets, glaciers, and other land-based snow and ice is expected to be much greater. The frozen seawater (sea ice) in the Antarctic and Arctic oceans is also expected to increase during this century.
Higher Sea Levels
There are two ways that warmer climates cause sea levels to rise. The first is through the melting ice sheets and glaciers – these glaciers and ice sheets increase the amount of water on the land. Secondly, warm ocean water expands, which leads to an increase in its volume and, consequently, its level. Throughout the last century, the sea level increased by around 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters). Models have predicted that, by the year 2100, we will have witnessed a sea-level rise of 8 to 20 inches (20 and 50 centimeters) compared to the 20th-century levels.
What Can I Do to Help Climate Change?
- Voice your concerns about climate change, wherever and however you can.
- Use renewable energy in your homes.
- Invest in appliances that are energy efficient.
- Save water.
- Cut down on meat – and do not waste the food that you buy.
- Purchase better bulbs. LED lightbulbs can save up to 80 percent energy, compared to conventional incandescent.
- Drive vehicles that are fuel-efficient.
- Reduce your carbon profile.