The ultimate world problem
U.S. government agencies announced that 2015 was the hottest year on record, beating out 2014 by the widest margin in 136 years of record keeping. But this new record may not stand for long, in fact 2016 could be even hotter, because of the strongest Ninos ever measured and the continuous warming of the planet.
“2015 was remarkable even in the context of the larger, long-term warming trend,” says Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Average temeperatures in the artic region are rising faster than elsewhere in the world . Artic ice is getting thinner , melting and rupturing. For example the largest single block ice in the Artic, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, had been around for 3thousands years before it started cracking in 2000, and now it's breaking into pieces.
Images from NASA satellites show that the polar ice cap is shrinking, in fact the area of permanent ice cover is contracting at a rate of 9% each decade.
If this trend continues, the Artic could become ice-free in summer by the end of the century.
This melting causes a rising of the sea level of 0,14 inches every year. When sea levels rise rapidly, as they are doing, even a small increase can have devastating effects on coastal habitats. If seawater reaches farther inland, it can cause destructive erosion, flooding of wetlands, contamination of aquifers and agricultural soils, and lost habitat for fish, birds, and plants.
In addition, people who live in vulnerable areas to flooding will be forced to abandon their homes and relocate. Low-lying islands could be submerged completely.
Moreover, higher temperatures cause increased droughts and wildfires , heavier rainfall and a greater number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes . In fact warmer water in the oceans pumps more energy into tropical storms, making them stronger and potentially more destructive; a warmer climate exacerbates the conditions of drought and desertification, particularly during summer and autumn.
For these reasons, we have to face this problem. There is no single solution to global warming, but we could slow down it by phasing out fossil fuels, revving up renewables, managing forests and agricolture and exploring nuclear. As Leonardo DiCaprio said in a speech <<This is the most urgent of times, and the most urgent of messages>>.