by Kiran Munir, Staff Writer
Lately, Chicago has been experiencing some crazy weather patterns, like 58 degrees in the months of January and February and then getting one of the heaviest snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures in the last few days of March. Additionally, other parts of the world are experiencing similarly strange weather patterns.
Inevitably, the global climate is changing. An overwhelming scientific consensus is supporting that the Earth is warming up and that it is human-induced. An increase in global temperatures adversely affects many species of animals and ecosystems. Scientists believe global warming is human-induced because research has shown that air pollutants from fossil fuel usage make clouds reflect more of the sun’s rays back into space. At first this seems counter intuitive to the claim that “the Earth’s climate is getting warmer,” but this is actually called global dimming. Global dimming causes droughts because it prevents the weather from being warm enough to form rain. In an attempt to clean up global pollutants that cause global dimming without tackling greenhouse gas emissions, rapid warming and other various ecological disasters (i.e. hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, heat waves, etc.) are taking place.
Although planet Earth has experienced many cycles of warmth and ice-ages throughout its history, the current increase rate has bypassed any increase in prior history. The rapid increase in average temperatures has been accredited to an increasing dependence on fossil fuels. An increase in average temperatures has augmented ice coverage to recede at the North and South Poles which in turn causes an increase in ocean levels. The increase water levels in the ocean leads to many of the disasters mentioned above. The increase also leads to greater amounts of water being evaporated and then condensing to form huge rainstorms, which can lead to flooding of lakes and rivers.
Many scientists agree that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing the planet due to the immense impact on organisms, ecosystems, and changing biosphere composition. The differences in the biosphere cause unique weather patterns to emerge resulting in weather conditions never experienced by humans in the recent era.
This is why the weather in Chicago has become relatively mild in the winter and scorching hot in the summer time. Unless some immediate action and encouragement to use more eco-friendly products and to switch to clean natural energy sources is made, the Earth’s future is looking quite grave. Some of the events that are being predicted due to this increase in global temperatures include increasing frequency and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes; increased number of “hotter days” and a decrease in frost nights; and waves eroding the Arctic Circle.
But we as one team can save our beautiful planet one step at a time; see that light over there that is not being used? Go turn it off! It’s time we go green!