It has been half a year since 2015 ended, but climate and environmental problems are still bugging the Earth, raising even more concerns as the annual State of the Climate report consolidated 450 scientists from around the world was released.
Reviewing last year’s climate conditions, global warming was definitely the sole cause of the hottest weather by far since 1950. El Nino, an ocean heating trend that further worsens the heating up of our weather, can be especially felt in Singapore’s hot weather.
The increase in greenhouse gases introduced into our environment has had large impacts on the worsening climate has which in turn caused a domino effect whereby ocean surface temperatures rise melting of our icebergs occur at a faster rate, thus causing the steady rise in sea levels. This can be illustrated by situations in The Arctic, which is one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and continues to warm, which has led to thinner sea ice cover. Water levels are rising fast in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean too, following in the footsteps of a 3.3mm average increase in sea level. Did you know that snow cover in the northern hemisphere marked the second lowest in a 49-year satellite record in June?
While this happens, more areas experience severe droughts such as South Africa which experienced the hottest temperature of 48.4 degrees Celsius along with Russia and China. In the Antarctic, however, temperatures take on an opposite turn and are plunging instead.
Statistics on some of the other situations affecting the world due to El Nino show that the number of tropical cyclones hitting the earth was well above our average of 82 by around 20 and the Eastern and Central Pacific have been affected by the most number of storms in a year since the 20th Century. Furthermore, algal blooms due to warm temperatures have been observed to be spreading from central California all the way to British Columbia, Canada. Warm waters is therefore one of the most worrying impact of the El Nino which can prove to be detrimental to marine life, coastal resources and in turn all these would affect us as we are the consumers of our resources.
Global warming and climate change is really taking a toll on our environment and these results are just a very recent and updated proof of it. Thus, let us all strive to improve our environmental conditions as much as we can before 2016 ends!
Renee Ong (2J)