Climate change is REAL and is happening all around us. In some places it may seem hotter than usual and in other places cooler. The seasons don’t seem exactly right but somehow instead seem ‘off schedule’ confusing nature – plants, animals, insects, humans. Storms are increasing in intensity and frequency – often with little warning. There are still floods and droughts in many parts of the world.
There is no need to be intimidated by Science and in fact Scientists need our help in public advocacy. There are two great websites I find informative and not to ‘over the top’.
From research on these three sites I have found some staggering facts:
Artic sea ice was stable between 1979-2000 but has since reduced by 50%
NOAA scientists predict there will be no arctic sea ice by 2035
Global surface temperatures were the ninth warmest on record in 2012
Arctic Sea Ice Down 12% per Decade
Land Ice Down 100 bn ton/year (Greenland) ½ that (Antarctica)
Sea Levels Up 3.18mm per year
Global Temperatures Up 1.5 degrees F avg temperature increase since 1880
CO2 Up 395 parts per million
Arctic sea is frozen ocean water
Plays a major role in Earth’s global systems & represents 10% of Earth’s surface
– Keeps polar regions cool
– Influences climate
– Provides habitat for animals
Sea ice creates an ecosystem that supports animals – krill, cod, walruses – both top/bottom of ice provide places for animals to hunt, hide, rest, mate & give birth. Without sea ice arctic plants and animals will go extinct
What causes sea levels to rise?
Melting Land Ice (i.e., Greenland Ice Shelf)
– Warmer temperatures will melt Greenland’s Ice Sheet – raising sea levels by more than 25 feet
When sea ice melts it expands
Fact: Ocean and air temperatures are increasing
CO2 into the atmosphere
– Human activities like deforestation & burning fossil fuels
– Natural acts like respiration & volcanic eruptions
Heat absorbed by these gases is radiated back to the Earth’s surface
The Ocean then absorbs heat from the air – heats it up – and melts the sea ice
The more ice that melts, the more ocean surface is exposed to absorb the heat from the sun. Dark surfaces absorb (light ice reflects) so the ocean becomes warmer further melting more ice. Can you see the circular reference?
Why do we care?
Warmer ocean water affects atmospheric patterns like the jet stream, which may lead to more extreme weather events in the US, Europe and Asia – i.e., ‘severe climate change’.
The ocean bottom affects sea ice cover, which affects the amount of vapor coming from the surface of the ocean into the air, which in turn influences cloud cover.
What do we do?
Individuals – make choices about how you live (recycle/what you drive)
Corporations – do the right thing – take advantage of opportunities to set green examples.
Nations – provide leadership – make climate change politically viable
About Vanessa O’Brien
Vanessa O’Brien is a British mountaineer and an American mountaineer (as a result of her dual nationality), climber, explorer, public speaker and former business executive.
She became the first American woman to climb K2 and the first British woman to climb K2 (as a result of her dual nationality) on 28 July 2017 when she successfully led a team of 12 members to the summit and back on her third attempt, receiving Explorer of the Year by the SES for her efforts in 2018. She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Fellow of The Explorers Club, and a Member of The Scientific Exploration Society (SES).
Vanessa climbed the highest peak on every continent, receiving a Guinness World Record setting a record for the fastest time a woman first achieved this goal (295 days). Vanessa has skied the last 111 km to the South and North Poles completing the Explorers Grand Slam in 11 months, becoming the first woman to do so in under a year and the 8th woman in the world. Outside of mountaineering, Vanessa completed the Boston Marathon in 2017, helping to raise money for the American Red Cross, has been shot testing bulletproof clothing at point blank range by Miguel Caballero with a .38 long revolver, and reached 200 mph riding with Mario Andretti at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2018.