After two devastating hurricanes in Texas and Florida, the dangers of global warming have become too much of a clear and present danger to ignore. It is no longer a worldwide event with the potential of happening, it’s a global event that is happening.
Temperatures have risen 0.6 degrees Celsius, a huge change on a global scale. Climatologists have long stated that global warming is the result of a variety of factors, chief of which being the impact of humanity on the environment. It is much too late to prevent climate change, so we need to know what its effects are and how to deal with them.
Addressing the pair of hurricanes in the Gulf, global warming is not the cause of the storms. Rather, it is a contributing factor to the intensity of the storms. Global warming will, over time, cause higher and deadlier storm surges and greater rainfall during hurricanes, but, contrary to popular belief, it will not change the amount of hurricanes in a particular hurricane season.
This trend goes for other weather occurrences as well; droughts will last longer; storms will become more severe and floods may last for days on end. The typical day without storms will likely change as well, as the warmer seasons stretch out and the cooler seasons are briefer. Take last winter for example. Christmas was nearly shorts and t-shirts weather. Days are also getting hotter as a general rule, as new temperature highs are set nearly every year.
Accompanying the rise in temperature, other massive changes are bound to occur. One of the more well known repercussions is the melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps, which are also contributing to a rise in global sea level. This rising sea level is a severe threat to coastal cities, as unprecedented flooding may occur and in extreme circumstances can begin to drag entire city blocks out to sea.
As stated previously, the effects of global warming are too drastic to be prevented, but that does not mean they can’t be mitigated. By reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses that we emit, the amount of warming we will experience in the coming generation will be reduced significantly. Reforestation would also help, as large quantities of plants such as the Amazon rainforest naturally absorb the carbon emissions from cars, factories and other sources of mass greenhouse gas emission. Along the same vein, preventing deforestation in the first place is another method of mitigating these massive changes in climate.
The other options for dealing with global warming are either adaption or climate engineering. Climate engineering is a dangerous and largely theoretical science, but it does have at least a slight chance to somehow reverse some effects of global warming if the science is expanded.
The more grounded option is adaption, where we simply accept that these changes are bound to happen and we at least need to prepare for them. These preparations include building supports and raising streets to aid in flooding, ensuring the efficient flow of rain water into sewers or out of the city, and many other methods in flooding preparations.
In addition to taking steps to mitigate the effects of global warming, adaption is likely going to be the most logical and effective stance that this nation can take to respond to these warming temperatures. So with the knowledge of what the nation must do, it falls upon us, the voting population, to ensure that global warming is not swept under the rug, and politicians recognize it as the deadly phenomenon it is.