The popsicles are melting and the temperature gage continues to rise. The kids have taken to the streets to cool off under the stream of the fire hydrant and even the dogs are hiding under the shade of the trees. It’s a bonafide heat wave! If this sounds familiar, it’s because the US has been under a nationwide heat wave for the past few weeks. Yes, it is the middle of July, but is there something more sinister at work? With temperatures rising steadily, a lack of winter, and crazy, unpredictable weather, it’s hard not to pose the question. In fact, last week the entire country suffered temperatures well into the 100’s.
In a new study from the American Meterological Society they answer that very question. It states that heat waves are directly related to global warming and they are on the rise! The study points out that several heat waves have been connected to human-made global warming. These heat waves include last year’s brutal heat in Texas which was considered 20 times more likely to occur due to global warming and November’s warmer than normal temperature in England was 62 times more likely. This study marks a new feature in climate science, where it has usually taken years to compile weather studies, this one was able to be analyzed and published within several months. This is groundbreaking science that is sure to help shed some light on the issues we are to face.
If you thought that was bad news, it only gets worse. In another study published by Stanford last year stated that the US is “likely to undergo extreme summer temperature shifts within 60 years.” Yup, expect more droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, tornados, fires, floods and any other weather extreme that will terrify and complicate our modern lives. But not all disasters have been directly connected to global warming including recent floods in Thailand. Monsoons are common in Thailand and researches have related these particular floods to rapid development, meaning more people in more vulnerable areas.
And as the temperature continues to rise, we lose more and more of our polar ice. In 2011, the Artic warmed as a whole and was at it’s second lowest level since we humans started keeping track. In case you haven’t heard, this is causing the sea levels to rise at a steady pace. Higher sea levels means less land for humans and animals alike and with our population reaching 7 billion, major social issues are headed our way.
Basically all this news is bleak and a bit scary. Is there anything we can do? It’s unlikely we will be able to slow the affects already set in motion. However, we need to get serious about changing our ways. What we have done to the Earth over the last Century needs to stop now. We need to figure out more sustainable energy and stop using gasoline like it’s water running from a tap. We also need to start planning for the future. Rather than deny the Earth is warming, we, as a society, must plan for the future. Acting now, could save countless lives and resources. You and I need to start pressuring our leaders to pay attention to these issues and we need to change our everyday actions. The heat is on, as the say, so let’s cool it down.