Climate change has become a reality. The average annual temperature on the planet has grown by 0.8 degrees Celsius, and the level of the world’s ocean has risen by one meter. The catastrophic consequences of global warming are already visible today. The first extinct species of animals, the waters of the island, the floods and droughts all over the world, the portal Climate Russia presents: 10 real consequences of climate change.
Fact number 1. Death of rare animals
Just a couple of years ago, scientists only hypothesized which species of flora and fauna will disappear from the face of the Earth as a result of climate change. Today, fluctuations in temperatures redraw the composition of the plant and animal life.
The first victim of global warming was the reef mosaic-tailed rat. The animal lived in Australia, in the Torres Strait, on the coral reef of Bramble Cay, 340 by 150 meters in size. Scientists agreed that the reason for the extinction of this animal is an increase in the level of the ocean.
Two years ago, zoologists set traps, but never caught a single mosaic-tailed rat. Due to the fact that the reef repeatedly flooded the animals, they lost up to 94 percent of their range, and the area of the vegetative cover of the island decreased from 2.2 to 0.065 hectares. “This case is the first documented extinction of mammals due to anthropogenic climatic changes,” the scientists believe.
Fact number 2. The extinction of more than a third of the corals of the Great Barrier Reef
As a result of global warming, the water temperature in the Coral Sea increased. This destroyed 35 percent of the coral in the northern and central parts of the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Water warmed up, which led to “bleaching” and the death of sensitive organisms, concluded the University of James Cook experts. This is the process by which corals weaken and lose colored algae covering them – a source of oxygen and nutrients.
Scientists have calculated that the recovery of the algae layer will take at least ten years. Even more time will be needed in order to grow new corals on the Great Barrier Reef, which will replace the dead relatives.
Fact number 3. Temperature anomalies in the Arctic
This year, the temperature records on the planet have been set repeatedly. So, according to the Hydrometeorological Center, April 2016 was the warmest in the history of meteorological observations in the Northern Hemisphere. Exactly one year, since May 2015, absolute maximums of the average monthly air temperature are recorded here. The most serious anomalies are recorded in the Arctic: in the Kara and Barents Seas, on Novaya Zemlya and Yamal, up to + 8 ° C and higher. In the west of Greenland and in Alaska – up to +6 ° C.
Fact number 4. Nine-trillion tons of melted ice in Greenland
Today, glaciers disappear before our very eyes. You can see this thanks to the project of the American photographer James Baloga Extreme Ice Survey. In 2007, he installed the cameras near the glaciers and, together with his assistants, began to observe them. In December last year, the project participants published the result of an eight-year investigation: in the mounted video for a few seconds, the catastrophic melting rate of the Mendenhall glacier in Alaska is demonstrated. For eight years, the glacier retreated by more than half a kilometer.
Scientists are sounding the alarm: glaciers all over the world are melting with frightening speed. For example, over the past 100 years, Greenland has lost more than nine trillion tons of ice. According to NASA, every year the island’s ice shield “loses” by about 287 billion tons. In the period from 13 to 19 August 2015, a 12.5 square kilometer piece broke away from the Yakobshavn glacier in Greenland. According to experts, this volume is enough to cover the whole of Manhattan with a layer of ice that is almost 300 meters thick.
Fact number 5. Part of the Solomon Islands went under the water
Five small areas of land entering the Solomon Islands archipelago have disappeared due to rising ocean levels and erosion, Australian researchers concluded. This is the first scientific confirmation that climate change affects the coasts in the Pacific Ocean.
a) Change in the shoreline of the island of Sogomou (Solomon Islands) between 1947 and 2014
b) View of the eastern part of Sogomou Island (2013)
(c) Changing the coastline of the island of Calais between 1947 and 2014. In 2014, the island completely went under water.
Solomon Islands are a few hundred pieces of land. Their population is almost 640 thousand people. For two decades, the ocean level of this archipelago rose to 10 millimetres per year. Disappeared islands, covering an area of one to five hectares, were not inhabited – in contrast to six other reefs that partially disappeared under water. On these islands were villages that were abandoned by people. So, Nuatambu served as a home for 25 families. Since 2011, they have lost half of the island’s area.
Fact number 6. Four-year drought in California
Global warming is not to blame for the record drought in California, researchers at the Lamont Dougherty Observatory at Columbia University say. But – temperature fluctuations intensified the intensity of a dangerous weather phenomenon by 15-20%. If the temperature on Earth continues to grow, the drought will create a critical situation in the region. The lack of rain provokes forest fires, which destroy all life in its path. In recent years, California’s forests have lost millions of trees – due to the drought and invasion of bark beetles, caused by climate warming. In four years, about 58 million trees in California lost almost a third of the necessary water contained in the forest canopy.
Fact number 7. Natural disasters
In late May, Western Europe was covered with heavy rain and floods, which was a real disaster for Germany and France. In Paris, the water level in the Seine has reached a maximum mark for the last 30 years. After four days of continuous rain, the water level in the river within the boundaries of Paris rose by 4.15 meters above normal. Navigation on the Seine was stopped, many stations of the Paris Metro stopped operating. Due to the danger of flooding, the world-famous museums of the Louvre and Orsay were closed. In total, more than five thousand people were evacuated in France. “Unusual for June, the strongest downpours in Paris are reminiscent of the need to take urgent measures to curb climate change,” President Francois Hollande said.
Global warming has played a huge role in these natural disasters in France, confirms climatologists from the World Weather Attribution (WWA) project. The main thesis of their work – over the past 50 years, climate change nearly doubled the likelihood of multi-day showers in Flaubert’s homeland and Jeanne d’Arc.
In 2015, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources, there were 232 natural fires in Russia in the territories of 31 reserves and 19 national parks. In total, more than 50 thousand hectares of forest were burnt. Most damage was done to the Siberian Federal District, where 129 fires were registered in four national parks and eleven state reserves.
Fact number 8. Climate change is one of the causes of the war in Syria
Since 1990, the average annual temperature in Syria has increased by 1-1,2 ° C. In this regard, the season of precipitation, vital for crops, decreased by 10 percent. Local farmers found themselves in a difficult situation. Harvest has fallen, the lack of water in the Fertile Crescent has killed animals. As a result, unemployment has become more acute, grain prices have risen by almost a third, and famine has come.
The severe drought that lasted in Syria from 2006 to 2010 was one of the reasons that provoked the civil war in the country. To this conclusion came the American climatologists. The study was published in the authoritative journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Map of precipitation and vegetation in southern countries. A prolonged drought and a shortage of water forces people to protest and participate in illegal armed groups.
These factors, the researchers concluded, supplemented the already difficult situation in the country, caused by corruption in the government, social protests and population growth. As a result, one and a half million villagers rushed to overcrowded cities, which provoked a civil conflict.
Fact number 9. Over 19 million climate refugees
Climatic refugees are trying to get the remains of water from a dried-up well.
Temperature fluctuations provoke destructive floods, fires and droughts, forcing people to leave their native lands. In 2014, more than 19 million people from a hundred countries were forced to leave their homes because of natural disasters caused by climate change. In the future, these numbers will skyrocket. According to scientists, by the middle of the century the number of so-called environmental refugees will grow to 200 million.
Nevertheless, the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees still lacks the notion of a “climatic” or “environmental refugee”, making it difficult to maintain statistics on this type of migrant. In May this year, residents of the island of De Jean-Charles in Louisiana (USA) became the first officially recognized “climate refugees”. The land, which was inhabited by representatives of the Indian tribe for hundreds of years, today turns into a salt swamp and gradually drowns in the sea because of floods. Under the state government’s program, a community of about 60 people left the island due to climate change. The situation in our world is beyond repair, all winners on slots couldn’t fund the damage caused even if they cooperated, and trust me, they win a lot, so that says it all.
Fact number 10. Outbreaks of the epidemic
This year, humanity was faced with another threat – the virus Zika. To date, the disease has been detected in 23 countries and is spreading rapidly around the world.
The Zika virus is an infectious disease that is transmitted mainly through mosquitoes. Also, cases of sexual transmission of the virus are reported. The virus is most dangerous for pregnant women, as it causes the microflora in the fetus with potential severe brain damage.
One of the reasons for the rapid spread of the disease, scientists call global warming. Climate change has created for mosquitoes that carry the virus, favourable conditions for life and larger areas for reproduction.