If you still think that global warming is a story far away….well, it’s time to really look out the window. Ever since our previous record-breaking global temperature in 2015, we have presumed 2016 to resemble a dire climate similar to last year’s. But our planet’s radical climate change is approaching in a much faster pace than we’ve anticipated.
With the average global surface temperature of 1.13ºC, January 2016 was the first to exceed 2 degrees above normal standards. Yet, February 2016 has already risen to 1.35ºC, an abnormal increase of more than 0.2º C above January 2016. What this means is that February 2016 would be the first month in history to pass the average global temperature mark of 1.5ºC.
And Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist writing for Slate’s Future Tense stated, “Our planet’s preliminary February temperature data are in, and it’s now abundantly clear: Global warming is going into overdrive…February obliterated the all-time global temperature record set just last month.”
Note the mindblowing differences in time duration—the number of years it had taken us to finally reach our first 1.0 degree Celsius since the Industrial age (1800s) until last October, compared to now, where only in the last five months, we’ve already added an extra 0.4 degrees increase. We must face the reality of our planet’s state now.
February’s abnormally warm season has even dismissed winter in many parts of the world, such as the coastal cities of U.S, or the“dozens of countries in Europe and Asia that set or tied their all-time temperature records for February” (Holthaus). Even parts of Arctic have gone above the freezing point, with at least 16 degrees Celsius (29 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the usual month of February, and in the tropical regions, the longest-lasting coral bleaching was reported due to the extensive record-warmth.
And recently, on March 4, 2016, Alaska was reported to be seen shipping snow to conduct their 45th annual Iditarod sled dog race. Alaska has been one of the major victims of our world’s global warming problems, where the unusually warm temperatures have melted so much snow that even a snow sled race had to be compensated for. It has been a second year in a row where the officials had to change the race’s route for safety, and the Alaska Railroad loaded a total of seven freight cars full of snow to Anchorage.
As sad as it is, the scientific and mathematical data are nonetheless undeniably creeping up on us. Rowan Sutton of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science stated in the Discovery News, “It looks very likely that globally 2014, 2015 and 2016 will all be amongst the very warmest years ever recorded…This is not a fluke. We are seeing the effects of energy steadily accumulating in the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, caused by greenhouse gas emissions.”
Ironically, though it seems a majority of us are clearly aware and concerned of the extreme climate fluctuations, and how our Planet Earth is slowly hitting its dangerous peak, we are yet oblivious and unwilling to make a sharp difference in our own actions. After all, climate change is a man-made problem driven by our ever growing economy devoted by each individual nations. But now, it’s really time for the world to start teaming up to work together and improve our planet that is inhabited by all of us, even if it’s just a little baby step.
– Sammie Kim (’18)