Climate change is becoming a huge issue that even some of the biggest skeptics are starting to accept as fact. As scientists scramble to find a solution, or to at least prepare the world for the effects of climate change, there are a few key pieces of information that scientists are stressing to the public.
1. New York City is almost certainly screwed.
In 2012 when Hurricane Sandy reeked havoc in New Jersey and New York City, most of the cities underground transportation tunnels were flooded. This flooding was unlike anything NYC had seen before, and way more than they were prepared to deal with. Researchers have been analyzing the soil layers to determine how climate has changed in the area. In a news release, Andra Reed, one of the lead researchers said, “In the pre-anthropogenic era, the return period for a storm producing a surge of 2.81 meters (9 feet) or greater like Sandy at the Battery would have been about 3,000 years. We found that, in the anthropogenic era, the return period for this same storm surge height has been reduced to about 130 years.”
Hurricane Sandy has motivated researchers to figure out how much time NYC has to prepare for another disaster like Hurricane Sandy. However, as hurricane season has two more months, there are plenty of worries as to what the city can withstand.
2. Even with global calls for reduced greenhouse gases, we’re still screwed.
Every country except for India has prepared a plan to reduce emissions to present at the United Nations in December. The hope is that with a global deal to reduce emissions, countries will be able to hold each other accountable in their efforts to save the planet.
However, scientists believe that even with these deals, it may be too far gone. The global average temperature will still rise by 6 degrees Fahrenheit, analysts say. This could cause mass extinctions of animal and plant life, and will certainly cause mass food shortages. In short, this increase would be catastrophic.
In 2010, a goal was set to lower the expected global temperature rise to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the New York Times. Although this rise in temperature would still allow significant levels in sea rise, agricultural issues and obviously harm the environment, it wouldn’t be nearly as catastrophic.
3. Melting ice is revealing some scary relics.
Along with well-preserved Woolly Mammoths and fossils of never-before-seen creatures, melting permafrost is revealing some giant viruses.
These “giant” viruses are called such because they are the size of bacteria. Although many of these viruses are harmless to modern-day species, scientist worry that we could potentially re-awaken viruses such as smallpox. There’s little known about what can be found under the permafrost. Scientists worry that as the permafrost melts, we could face a global crisis, much like the plague.
Overall, climate change has many negative effects. Scientists are still fighting to save the planet, but we also must be prepared for the possibility that it’s too late and we need to be prepared.