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Earth’s Climate in Uncharted Territory: Recent Events Indicating Distress

by Michael Nguyen
3 comments
climate change events

As Earth continues to warm, surpassing previous thresholds, scientists emphasize that the alarming rise in average planetary temperature is a clear consequence of human-induced pollution. However, they assert that the heat is not the only indication of a grave concern. Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at Brown University, explains, “Heat influences our climate in numerous ways… it’s never just the heat.”

In addition to the rising temperatures, there are various distress signals from our climate, including dying coral reefs, more intense Nor’easters, and the pervasive wildfire smoke that has plagued North America this summer.

Here are some recent events and “firsts” that underscore the uncharted territory we find ourselves in due to climate change:

1. Ocean Warming

The vast majority of our planet is covered by oceans, which have absorbed 90% of the recent warming caused by greenhouse gases. In April, global ocean temperatures reached a startling 69.98 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1 degrees Celsius). This significant increase was attributed to a combination of greenhouse gas emissions and the early formation of El Niño. The Copernicus Climate Change Service has recently published data documenting exceptionally warm ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic, along with extreme marine heat waves near Ireland, the U.K., and in the Baltic Sea.

2. Wildfire Smoke

Multiple episodes of wildfire smoke originating from northern Canada have led to hazardous air quality levels in eastern North America. While the West Coast has become accustomed to high levels of wildfire smoke, scientists predict that climate change will exacerbate wildfires and intensify their associated smoke, impacting the East Coast more frequently.

3. Early Arrival of El Niño

El Niño, a period characterized by warming Pacific Ocean waters, arrived earlier than usual, replacing La Niña, which typically has a cooling effect on global temperatures. This early arrival grants El Niño more time to strengthen. The World Meteorological Organization predicts a 98% chance that at least one of the next five years will break the record for the warmest year, surpassing the exceptionally strong El Niño-influenced 2016.

4. Shrinking Antarctic Sea Ice

Scientists are closely monitoring the record-breaking decline in Antarctic sea ice. On June 27, the ice sheet covered approximately 4.5 million square miles (11.7 million square kilometers), nearly 1 million square miles (2.6 million square kilometers) below the average for that date from 1981 to 2010, as reported by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This loss equates to an area almost four times the size of Texas disappearing from the ice sheet.

The experts are united in their concern, with Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research emphasizing, “The increasing heating of our planet caused by fossil fuel use is not unexpected, but it is dangerous for us humans and the ecosystems we depend on. We need to stop it, fast.”

Contributions from Big Big News writer Seth Borenstein in Washington have informed this article.

Big Big News’ climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. To learn more about AP’s climate initiative, visit their website. The AP bears sole responsibility for all content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about climate change events

Q: What are some recent events indicating that Earth’s climate has entered uncharted territory?

A: Recent events pointing to Earth’s climate entering uncharted territory include rising global temperatures, dying coral reefs, more intense storms like Nor’easters, widespread wildfire smoke, ocean warming, early arrival of El Niño, and shrinking Antarctic sea ice. These events serve as distress signals of the impact of climate change on our planet.

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3 comments

ClimateWatcher23 July 7, 2023 - 11:10 am

recent events show dat da earth’s climate has gone into uncharted territory!! rising tempz, dying corl reefs, intense stormz, wilfire smoke, shrinking sea ice – it’s a sign of d impact of climate change. we gotta take action now!

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EarthLover88 July 7, 2023 - 5:20 pm

wow, dese events r like alarm bells ringin’ loud!! global warmn’, dyin’ reefs, crazy storms, smoke everywhere, warm oceanz, early el niño, shrinkin’ sea ice… it’s like mother earth is screamn’ at us 2 wake up! let’s save our planet!

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NatureEnthusiast42 July 8, 2023 - 12:32 am

recent events r tellin’ us a story we can’t ignore! heatin’ up, reefs dyin’, storms gettn’ intense, smoke fillin’ d air, oceanz warmin’, el niño comin’ early, sea ice shrinkin’… it’s time we act! let’s protect our beautiful earth! #ClimateAction

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