The negative consequences of climate change have grown swiftly from a newborn topic of academic interest to an essential and pressing issue of crucial significance in the current scenario. Climate change refers to alterations in the Earth's climate caused most often by human activities since the pre-Industrial era, particularly the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation, leading to a high rise in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. Severe, continuing deep-rooted changes in the global climate are referred to as climate change. The global climate, in simple terms, is the interconnected mechanism of the Earth, sun, oceans, and rain, snow, wind, forests, and human activities.
Among the most significant indicators of global change, the concepts "global warming" and "climate change" are frequently mentioned together and interchangeable. Global warming is defined as an increase in average global temperatures that seriously affect humankind, wildlife, and ecosystems all across the planet. Climate change is applied to incorporate these numerous repercussions as there are other causes and implications than just increasing surface temperatures.
What is the role of global warming in climate change?
Heat is energy, and adding energy to any system causes it to change. Since the entire climate system is interconnected, releasing heat energy enables the global climate to alter overall.
The ocean covers a large portion of the globe that heats up. Hence More water evaporates into clouds when the ocean heats up. Severe Storms such as typhoons and hurricanes produce stronger energy-intensive storms where they occur. Glaciers, the Polar ice cap, etc., and the vast ice shield is protruding off Antarctica all melt as the atmosphere warms, resulting in rising sea levels. As a result, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have surged from roughly 280 parts per million (ppm) from the pre-industrial era to 413 ppm in early 2020. In addition, climate change alters the enormous wind patterns that carry the rain, i.e., monsoons and snow, all over the Earth, making floods, drought, and unstable weather more frequent.This is the reason scientists have shifted their focus away from global warming and toward climate change as a whole and a more prominent topic. Climate hazards that pose potential risks are natural events that occur during weather cycles. Cyclones, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding have always been a part of our lives. Unfortunately, we are presently experiencing unprecedented levels of damage and destruction more than ever. Cyclone Idai, severe heatwaves in India, Pakistan, Europe, Canada's heat dome, and Southeast Asia have all occurred last year. In addition, millions and millions of humans have reportedly ended up losing their families, homes, livelihoods, and dear ones due to increasing hazardous and regular catastrophic weather disasters worldwide.
A look at the world's disastrous climate change incidents in 2021, as well as how they've influenced people's perception of extreme weather
According to an analysis conducted by a team of pioneering climate scientists, the extreme climatic conditions would have been "practically unattainable" if not for human beings caused reasons for climate change. According to the World Weather Attribution group, global warming-induced by greenhouse gas emissions increased the likelihood of the June heatwave by at least 150 times. In addition, Western Canada was trapped in a "heat dome" in late June, an occurrence that causes scorching temperatures when hot air is trapped by highly pressurized fronts and then pushed back down. The accurate number of deaths is unknown, but it is expected to be in the hundreds. The country's high temperature was broken on numerous occasions before ultimately settling at 49.6 degrees Celsius (121 degrees Fahrenheit) on June 30 in the village of Lytton. Washington and Oregon in the United States were also significantly impacted.
Floods struck China in July as well, with vehicles scattered across the central city of Zhengzhou as locals searched amid the wreckage of a devastating rainstorm that took at least 33 lives. Gushing of brown water surged through the train glass, rushing into the underground tube at breakneck speed. As the muddy water crept beyond their bodies, passengers stood on top of seats, scared and helpless. Some people were gasping for air and struggling to breathe. Others sent panicked final notes to family members or asking for help. An enormous rainfall dropped a year's amount of rain on the area within just three days, and flooding drains and pouring floods of filthy water through the roads, tunnels, and subway network.
The burning wildfires in California: The wildfire outbreak began in the American West, sparked by an unprecedented drought, where large numbers of firefighters were battling 80 major forest fires. The wildfires had scorched over 4,700 sq km of vegetation by the start of the week. In addition, several localities in nearby California areas were relocated due to the approaching "Dixie Fire," which is reported to have been started by a tree dropping on electric cables.The wildfire in Oregon named the "Bootleg Fire" has charred the same of the city of Los Angeles in flora and woods in just two weeks.
In mid-July, Western Europe was struck by massive flooding, following severe rains that wrecked entire communities and killed at least 209 people in Germany and Belgium, with much more missing and unaccounted for. Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, too, were affected by the floods. In other areas of the region, roughly two months' worth of rain fell in two days, flooding soil already saturated as the waterlogging ground.
Cyclone Tauktae killed 155 people in western India in May, including many people employed on oil rigs off the coast of Mumbai. It was one of the most destructive storms to slam the area in ages. Yaas, a category two hurricane, claimed the lives of at least nine persons and caused the evacuation of even more than 1.5 million people in the east, causing large numbers of people to abandon their homes and livelihoods.
After severe monsoon rains, many regions of India suffer disastrous floods and landslides, the recent evidence of how this country is on the severe verges of climate change. Two cyclones, a devastating glacier fall in the Himalayas, a scorching heatwave, and life-threatening floods have all struck the nation of 1.3 billion people in the year 2021.
These are all merely a handful of instances from a much longer list. In recent months, a sequence of world-record-breaking natural calamities has shaken the globe. Floods and wildfires are not standalone occurrences; they result from complex climate system linkages and feedback cycles. The climate of the Earth is dynamic, complicated, and unpredictable, with interconnections and energy fluxes between ocean, land, and atmosphere. A flood is triggered by more than just rain, and a wildfire is ignited by more than just a spark. All of the components of our climate system – and the dangers it creates – are linked in some manner, especially those caused by humankind. However, as the climate temperature rises, the baseline is altering. As a result, the way these threats and their causation interact is rapidly transforming, questioning the fundamental notion of extreme weather occurrences. All countries, rich and poor, are affected by severe weather disasters. However, as we confront a future with increased hazards, it is crucial to acknowledge the realities of those who bear the brunt of the effects of climate change. When food costs are already reaching their highest on record, extreme weather continues to wreak havoc on crops around the planet. The list continues on and on. For many, the negative of the present increase in commodities prices is already apparent: Climate disasters have significantly impacted millions of poor people worldwide. People are being forced out of their houses due to climate change, reinforcing poverty and escalating starvation. Residents in poorer countries are four times more likely to be uprooted by severe weather implications than those in richer ones.
Climate experts have long predicted grave consequences on the future, and the twenty-first century has seen several natural disasters amplified or rendered more certain by global warming. However, this summer, a series of devastating extreme weather events may make 2021 the year when climate predictions become an actuality that cannot be denied or dismissed. More integrative research and innovative strategies and techniques for disaster risk assessment and climate change adaptation are required to consider all weather-related hazards and their complicated and dynamic relationships. Is there something we can do as well? The answer is yes, with combined efforts from the government and individuals.
People can reduce climate change by minimizing their usage of fossil fuels such as petroleum, carbon, and natural gas and substituting them with sustainable, renewable, and cleaner energy sources while enhancing energy conservation. Simplistic measures, such as The most effective step a person could do would be to give up their car when it is not an absolute requirement. Additionally, carpool with your friends and family to avoid contributing to automobile exhaust and emissions. Amongst the most significant contributions to climate change is the meat and dairy industry. One may significantly decrease overall carbon footprint by much more than 40% by cutting their animal protein intake in half. These are among a few ways people may reduce the environmental impact by making these beneficial adjustments.
Pick environmentally friendly solutions such as solar energy and wind power. Develop a practice or routine to recycle and reuse. Instead of throwing things away, recognize ways how to reuse them effectively. Climate change is not natural, at certainly not in the way we consider it. Everything we are witnessing is the consequence of human activities; we've over-exploited our planet, and now we're experiencing the repercussions. We're struggling with a few weather issues and major ones, and we are seeing increasing incidents of them.
"All we have to accomplish now is increase attention and awareness of these issues and implement these answers into action by upgrading all of our problematical technologies with more eco-friendly and efficient ones."
While our Earth burns, the clock is ticking, and we do not have time to spare. Climate change is happening and leading to worse scenarios every minute. Hence, it is the most pressing challenge humanity has faced, so we need to work and put our efforts together and quit procrastinating or stalling real problems.
By Isha Raj
( Content writer at aNumak & Company )