The International Writers Magazine:Global Warming
Climate of fear
you have ever wondered what the world would be like half a century
from now, then you will have considered prospective wars, ever
faster changes in technology, fashion and the economy. It's a
world that will definitely be very different, but how will global
warming play its part in history?
The Hollywood film
The Day After Tomorrow depicted its own views
on what is to come but how accurate was the writer, producer and director
Following years of studies, this is the weather forecast for the next
Global warming is the gradual increase in global temperatures caused
by the emission of gases that trap the sun's heat in the Earth's atmosphere.
Gases that contribute to global warming include carbon monoxide emissions
which are primarily caused by the use of fossil fuels for energy. This
rise in global temperature is as we speak, causing irreversible climate
change, both to the surface air temperature as well as the sub-surface
ocean temperature. It is predicted that by 2050 temperatures will rise
by approximately ten degrees Fahrenheit and therefore droughts and heat
waves will become vastly more common across the globe. The higher temperatures
will also mean that ice caps will melt more rapidly. The Greenland ice
sheet is likely to rise in temperature by three degrees in the next
hundred years, contributing to its complete and irreversible meltdown
which, when it occurs, could raise the average global sea level by seven
New York rising damp
New York, Buenos
Aires and Tokyo are all vulnerable to this rising sea level and the
city of Venice could soon be seen solely by submarine. The ocean itself
becoming warmer is putting coral at risk and already the bleaching of
some reefs have been observed due to the excessive sea temperatures.
However, it is not only the heat that is causing the coral reefs to
suffer, the carbon monoxide is a direct threat as it makes the water
more acidic. So will this be the end of this beautiful sea life?
Climate change is not the only effects that will be seen over the next
fifty years due to the effects of greenhouse gases trapped in the ozone
layer. Just like in the blockbuster film, the storms are about to get
nasty, worse even than the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina this
year. Research shows that global warming will contribute to the growing
intensity of hurricanes in the future, by eight to sixteen percent with
rainfall increasing by twelve to twenty six percent within sixty miles
of the eye of the storm. (There were a record 14 hurricanes this year
in the USA.) This increased heavy rainfall will cause many more floods
and will raise sea levels in conjunction with the problems near and
around the Arctic Circle. This slow circulation of warming water will
spread diseases such as cholera and malaria to countries that have not
seen the likes them before and they will not be prepared. Fish, who
like very cold water will need to migrate ever further north and this
will cause many territorial disputes and hardship for fishermen.
The most noticeable cause of global warming to the human eye is the
smog that appears in urbanized areas and cities due to the increased
carbon monoxide emissions from vehicles. This will get worse by 2050,
unless electric powered vehicles become the norm and the quality of
the air will drastically deteriorate. According to scientific studies,
people in fifteen cities in the eastern United States will, on average,
experience a sixty percent increase in the number of days when ozone
levels exceed the health-based air quality standard set by the EPA (Environmental
Protection Agency) and a doubling of "red alert" air quality
days from two to four per summer. This will aid the extinction of hundreds
of thousands of species of animal and plant life due to declining habitats
as a result of rising temperatures and disintegrating air quality.
The Day After Tomorrow was fictional but there was
an element of warning about it rather than truth, that if the carbon
monoxide emissions are not decreased from the level they are currently
at, the world will become unbearable. There is no one approach that
can solve the problem by itself, but a collection of emission reduction
methods such as hybrid cars, wind power, geological carbon monoxide
storage, and re-forestation can lead to a feasible pathway to carbon
monoxide stabilization. But who will stop the famers in Brazil from
devasting the forests before it is too late> Who will get the Americans
out of their precious SUV's? Who will be the first to use less energy
and provide tax breaks for frugal engery consumption in house and home?
Why doesn't every home have solar panels? There will be a future, it's
choice we make now that sill dictate as to whether it will be habitable
or hell on earth.
Will you take the first step?
© Gina Birch Dec 7th 2005
Gina is a Creative Arts student at the University of Portsmouth
Still images form Day After Tomorrow
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