As we get ready to step foot into a new decade come 2020, we must bid farewell to the decade gone. This was the warmest in our history if scientific reports are to be believed. Climate change seems to be the new normal now, and taking action to reduce pollution should be the foremost priority of all countries.
However, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) based in Geneva, the average temperatures recorded in the past five-year period (2015-2019) and the previous ten-year period (2010-2019) were the highest temperatures to be ever recorded. The current year is set to be the second or third warmest year on record. Unfortunately for us, the worst is yet to come.
Rapidly Rising Sea Levels
The continuous rise in global sea level is a matter of grave concern as polar ice caps melt at an alarming degree, and the carbon dioxide concentrations in our bodies of water keep on rising unchecked. The acidity of seawater has increased by 26% since the start of the industrial revolution, and it is the primary cause of degradation of the marine ecosystem. Coral reefs around Australia are getting bleached, thanks to the severe pollution of our seas and oceans. The rise of carbon dioxide levels acts as the first warning of a large-scale disaster. In fact, every previous mass extinction event was preceded by abnormally high levels of carbon dioxide in bodies of water.
The oceans and the seas of this beautiful blue planet have already been polluted to unprecedented levels. It is high time that we take concrete actions to stop the pollution of our water bodies immediately. Marine heatwaves are more common than ever before as the oceans and the seas absorb all the atmospheric heat generated by global warming. Our seas and oceans are habitat to a diverse range of species that are bearing the brunt of human action. Rare marine species are teetering on the verge of extinction, and a few already wiped off the face of the earth.
More Powerful Natural Disasters To Come
In just the last two years, we have witnessed a frightening increase of devastating cyclones and typhoons over the Pacific Ocean. The coastal cities of the USA were the victims of several such powerful cyclones in the year 2019 alone. Japan recorded one of the most powerful storms in 2019 in the form of super typhoon Hagibis. This was categorized as the most violent typhoon by Japan’s Meteorological Agency. At 200 mph, hurricane Patricia made landfall off the coast of Mexico in 2015, making it the most powerful tropical cyclone ever recorded on earth. The sudden rise in mighty storms over the last five years should be seen as a critical warning that nature is starting to give back to us for all the destruction we’ve done to the planet.
Millions of people worldwide have been displaced in the year 2019 due to large-scale natural disasters. The majority of the people who are adversely affected by such disasters are the poor and the homeless. Rainfall patterns across India and northern Russia were critically affected by the monsoons in the Indian Subcontinent arriving at least a week later than the usual date.
Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere hit a record level of 407.8 parts per million in 2018 and continues to increase unrestrained in 2019. CO2 is the major contributor to global warming along with Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). Both of these are being released in large amounts into the atmosphere daily. CFC released from refrigerators and air conditioners deplete the ozone layer which protects our skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. In the coming years, the hole in the ozone layer is set to get larger and larger which means that skin cancer will become as common as the common cold.
The Paris Climate Agreement came into effect from 2016 and has been instrumental in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Financing efforts to counteract global warming globally are underway. While the global effort to save the planet is certainly on, there’s no denying the fact that we have already turned our beloved blue planet into a furnace. It would be ludicrous for us to think that climate change is only a theory and that all will be fine with our earth in a few years. The earth is getting warmer every hour and the survival of life on this planet is at stake — it is time to act now.