El Nino is expected to be strong this year. The rising sea has warmed 2 degrees Celsius from mid-August into early September in the equatorial area of the Pacific Ocean, where variances in temperatures indicate the severity of El Nino. The result means that extreme whether, such as typhoons and hurricanes, are likely to be plentiful and severe, leaving coastal area completely washed out in some cases.
Strong El Nino surfaces in tropical Pacific Ocean – http://t.co/AJy1k6ccyl El Nino surfaces in tropical Pacific Ocean
— Asian Journal Canada (@AsianJournalCan) September 1, 2015
Casablanca (Morocco), Calcutta (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Buenes Aires (Argentina), Osaka (Japan), Shanghai (China), Manila (Philippines), Marseille (France) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands) are the most vulnerable cities to flooding from extreme weather and together their population is in the hundreds of millions of people at risk of permanently losing not only their homes, but also the city in which they live.
Professor Nigel Wright at the University of Leeds explains how even one damaged city could have knock on effects for the economy of the world.
“A 1-in-100 year flood in Shanghai would lead to widespread damage, with serious consequences for the city, across China and, through wider economic links, for the whole world.”
The science of global warming, though controversial in some circles, is rarely discussed in detail, as political pundits speak of either accepting or not accepting not only the issue of whether global warming is even an issue, but whether humans are contributing enough gases to the atmosphere to cause global weather changes. The solution is one which can be deduced as well as supported with evidence.
First, one must understand the oxygen/carbon dioxide cycle of humans and plants. The simple matter is that plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Humans do the opposite, so there’s harmony right? Wrong. The two “lungs” of planet Earth — the Amazon rainforest and the Congo (DRC) rainforests — are the first and second largest forests in the world respectively, but they will very soon be completely destroyed due to deforestation, particularly in an environmentally brutal form of farming called “slash and burn,” whereby desperate locals will chop down thousands of acres of rainforest to clear land for farming, then burn the tress to plant one or two crop cycles and then move on to the next patch of rainforest. Illigal logging also plays a significant role.
“Rainforests once covered 14% of the Earth’s land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.”
NEAR ALTAMIRA, BRAZIL – JUNE 15: Construction continues at the Belo Monte dam complex in the Amazon basin on June 15, 2012 near Altamira, Brazil. Belo Monte will be the world’s third-largest hydroelectric project and will displace up to 20,000 people while diverting the Xingu River and flooding as much as 230 square miles of rainforest. The controversial project is one of around 60 hydroelectric projects Brazil has planned in the Amazon to generate electricity for its rapidly expanding economy. While environmentalists and indigenous groups oppose the dam, many Brazilians support the project. The Brazilian Amazon, home to 60 percent of the world’s largest forest and 20 percent of the Earth’s oxygen, remains threatened by the rapid development of the country. The area is currently populated by over 20 million people and is challenged by deforestation, agriculture, mining, a governmental dam building spree, illegal land speculation including the occupation of forest reserves and indigenous land and other issues. Over 100 heads of state and tens of thousands of participants and protesters will descend on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this month for the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development or Earth Summit. Host Brazil is caught up in its own dilemma between accelerated growth and environmental preservation.
Those who believe that the algae in the oceans will save us are mistaken. The acidification of the oceans and loss of coral habitats are indicators of what will become a dead ocean with rising temperatures blended with man made pollution, even consisting of nuclear waste from nuclear power stations vulnerable to floods, as seen in Fukushima which release tons of nuclear waste in the Pacific Ocean.
In short, the environment of Earth is becoming more hostile to life as humans pollute and destroy the biological ecosystem on which humans ultimately depend. For now, humans must deal with the immediate consequences of severe droughts and flooding on the way toward permanent extinction caused by the loss of the ecosystem.
— EoE Alliance (@EoEAlliance) September 22, 2015
The irony is that El Nino could help some drought stricken areas. California is suffering one of its worst droughts and has a result been fighting brush fires throughout the state. These fires destroy homes, businesses, and in some cases, lives themselves. While the extreme storms might bring some much needed relief to California, the long-term problem of global warming — caused by the release of carbon gases — is not good.
“In the last two centuries, the amount of methane in the atmosphere has increased from 0.7 parts per million to 1.7 parts per million. The introduction of methane in such quantities into the atmosphere may, some climate scientists fear, make increases in the global temperature of four to six degrees Celsius inevitable.”
[Images by Joe Beadle, ChinaFotoPress, Mario Tama / Getty Images]