Climate Change: It’s Warmer Than You Think



The graphic demonstrates how climate change has affected hurricanes and the potential dangers.

Meghan Dulay, Editor-In-Chief of Design

Over the past few decades, the issue of climate change has become a pretty heated topic that has only grown more popular as the globe’s temperature increases.

Despite any opinions one may have, here are the facts: the planet is heating up, and at a fast pace. From, it has been found that “the average temperature of the Earth has risen between 0.4 and 0.8 °Cover the past 100 years.” And that’s just the start.

The effects of global warming can be seen all over the world, from the increase in severity of extreme weather events, to the bleaching of coral reefs in Australia, to the significant rise in sea levels.

Severe Hurricanes Are Becoming the Norm

Greenhouse gas emissions have significantly contributed to the increase in higher temperatures; one prime example of the effect these emissions have on the environment is the increase of severe hurricanes. Category 4 and 5 hurricanes have become the norm for millions living on the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean.  Hurricanes grow in strength with warmer waters, and due to the increase in temperatures, the Atlantic has become susceptible to more severe hurricanes.

LiveScience states that, “The global number of intense Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has nearly doubled in number, jumping from 50 per five years during the 1970’s to 90 per five years in the last decade.”

The graphic demonstrates how climate change has affected hurricanes and the potential dangers.

Coral Bleaching in Australia

Aquatic ecosystems are also suffering from the staggering increase of climate-change temperatures. The endangerment of the ocean’s coral reefs has become a severe problem due to these higher temperatures. Majority of the heat emitted from the greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, is absorbed by the world’s oceans, which ultimately causes temperatures in the water to increase. This is detrimental to coral reefs, as these are the rainforests of the ocean, and are vital to aquatic ecosystems. “Temperature spikes of only 1.8 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (1-2 degrees Celsius) can trigger mass bleaching events,” says Warmer waters cause corals the loose their algae that covers them, leaving them vulnerable. Once the corals die, the entire ecosystem practically fails.

Rises in Sea Level

Sea levels have also dramatically increased, due to the melting of the historic ice sheets from both ends of the world. This poses various threats, including habitat loss for hundreds of different species, an imbalance of populations among species, and, of course, the steady rise in sea levels. This is bad news for states next to oceans, such as Florida. With the rise of levels comes the threat of catastrophic flooding, which is concerning considering the number of people living on the coasts of Florida and other sea-side states. According to National Geographic, “In southern Louisiana coasts are literally sinking by about three feet (a meter) a century, a process called subsidence.” In combination with rising sea levels, this creates a huge concern for those living near the water, and raises questions how people can be protected from this inevitable flooding.

This visual better demonstrates the extent to which the changes impacts the rising sea levels.

Law Implemented

Countries around the globe have been working to come up with solutions to limit the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere. There has been a significant increase in climate-change related laws since the 1990s, and from, “In 1997, the database shows, there were just 60 laws in place, with the figure having risen 20-fold to reach 1,260 today.”

While there has been an increase in the amount of climate change related laws, they don’t seem to have a significant impact in the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Why? If there has been an increase on laws and specific protocols that companies must follow, then why are climbing temperatures continuing to be a topic in today’s new?

Stay tuned for part two next week.