The effects of our rapidly changing climate are worldwide, hitting the Arctic the hardest

2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago Wednesday, September 18 2019 Sep 18, 2019 Wednesday, September 18, 2019 10:50:00 PM CDT September 18, 2019 in Climate
By: Kenton Gewecke, KOMU 8 Chief Meteorologist
loading

Global warming has often been used interchangeably with climate change. Well, they shouldn’t be, because they do not describe the same thing. Global warming is the main component of climate change, however, climate change is so much more than just the warming of our world. Let me break it down for you.

Climate change, in simple terms, is due to an excess of energy trapped in our atmosphere because of greenhouse gases released by human activity. Now, this energy causes many things to happen. One of the main effects is global warming.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, in the 1700s, our world has warmed by roughly 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is around 1.3 degrees Celsius. That means we are getting dangerously close to the 1.5 to 2 degree thresholds that climatologists believe would bring us into a new world of extremes…a mark they say will be reached in the next 10 years if we don’t start cutting greenhouse gas emissions rapidly while also finding ways to take out some of the emissions we’ve put in. I’ll have more on this in future Show Me Climate stories.

Each part of the world warms at different speeds, however, the past 5 years have been the hottest since modern records began, and eighteen of the hottest 19 years have occurred since 2001.

The strongest warming is happening in the Arctic during its cool seasons, and its taking a toll on sea ice. 2019 has wobbled back and forth between the lowest and second lowest extents of sea ice, battling with 2012 for the all-time low record. Think about this: when sunlight hits ice, it is reflected back, but when it hits darker ocean waters because the ice it would usually hit has melted, the ocean water gets warmer leading more sea ice melt…it is a dangerous cycle we are currently on. Other notes: Alaskan waters were ice-free this year earlier than any other year and Greenland lost 12 billion tons of sea ice in just one day this July, the highest single-day total since 1950.

Sea ice melt is also a big contributor to sea level rise. In fact, since 1993 the sea level has risen by roughly 94 millimeters, or 3.7 inches. It rises roughly 3.3 millimeters each year. This is due to declining sea ice, shrinking ice sheets, glacial retreat, and decreased snow cover. It can also be attributed to the warming of ocean waters which expands the ocean.

The ocean isn’t only warming, it is also becoming more acidic. The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the ocean is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year, leading to a 30 percent increase in the ocean’s surface water’s acidity since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Coral reefs are being bleached due to these warmer, more acidic waters. Coral reefs are important because they provide a home to over 4,000 species of fish, which generates hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide every year. Coral reefs are also increasingly used to find cures. Many drugs are now being developed from coral reef animals and plants as possible cures for cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, viruses, and other diseases. They also provide protection from larger waves such as from tropical storms.

Our changing climate has also created more extreme weather. I’ll discuss this in my next Show Me Climate story, Thursday on KOMU 8 News at 6. Then, at 10 I’ll be discussing Missouri’s climate outside your window with our state climatologist.

------

This story is part of SHOW ME CLIMATE, an ongoing KOMU 8 series devoted to ethically explaining climate change without politics using fact-based data to deliver important information about our world and the Show-Me State.

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Starting Monday, the City of Columbia Municipal Court will offer a period of warrant amnesty. There will... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, December 09 2019 Dec 9, 2019 Monday, December 09, 2019 3:30:00 AM CST December 09, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The Moberly Police Department is asking for help identifying a man who robbed a gas station at gun-point... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, December 08 2019 Dec 8, 2019 Sunday, December 08, 2019 9:50:00 PM CST December 08, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Tigers have found their new head football coach. Eli Drinkwitz from Appalachian State will lead... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, December 08 2019 Dec 8, 2019 Sunday, December 08, 2019 6:47:00 PM CST December 08, 2019 in News
TIPTON - Neighbors are reacting after authorities said Bobby Joe Moore, 43, of Sedalia, shot his ex-girlfriends' mother and hit... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, December 08 2019 Dec 8, 2019 Sunday, December 08, 2019 6:01:00 PM CST December 08, 2019 in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Restaurant owners are heading into the holiday season ready to handle the winter customers and... More >>
20 hours ago Sunday, December 08 2019 Dec 8, 2019 Sunday, December 08, 2019 3:43:00 PM CST December 08, 2019 in Continuous News
FULTON — Community members can gather at the Field of Joy in Fulton’s Veteran's Park to remember departed loved ones... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, December 08 2019 Dec 8, 2019 Sunday, December 08, 2019 2:13:00 PM CST December 08, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Singing pine trees and dancing blue penguins are now lighting up the night throughout Binder Park in... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 08 2019 Dec 8, 2019 Sunday, December 08, 2019 8:00:00 AM CST December 08, 2019 in News
AUXVASSE - A suspect has been taken into custody in Auxvasse on Saturday in relation to a shots fired incident... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 9:19:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
FULTON - The 71st annual Christmas parade took over the streets of Fulton on Saturday afternoon. This year's theme... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 3:40:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Road signs honoring five Boone County veterans killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan were revealed Saturday. ... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 3:36:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY — One person was transported to the hospital Friday night after being ejected from their vehicle. The... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 3:17:00 PM CST December 07, 2019 in News
TIPTON — A shooting suspect is in the hospital after authorities shot him five times, according to a news release... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 8:50:00 AM CST December 07, 2019 in News
FULTON - Police are investigating after shots were fired at a Break Time in Fulton Friday night. According to... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 07 2019 Dec 7, 2019 Saturday, December 07, 2019 1:25:00 AM CST December 07, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - MU spokesman Christian Basi, confirmed the man who died after being hit by a car on College Ave... More >>
2 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 9:34:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Central Missouri Humane Society is waiving adoption fees this weekend, just in time for the holiday season.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 6:36:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
MISSOURI - Missouri’s minimum wage rate is set to go up again soon. The state minimum wage will increase... More >>
2 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 5:21:41 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson are inviting families to join them at the Governor's... More >>
2 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 3:50:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
BOONEVILLE - The Cooper County Sheriff's Office is asking travelers to find an alternate route on Highway 41 going to... More >>
2 days ago Friday, December 06 2019 Dec 6, 2019 Friday, December 06, 2019 3:02:00 PM CST December 06, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 49°
1pm 48°
2pm 44°
3pm 39°
4pm 37°