Earth Day can instill interest in environment

‘Protect Our Species’

Isabell Rivera OW Contributor | 4/19/2019, midnight

It’s April of 2019, and the Midwest just got hit by another “Bomb Cyclone.” Yes, that’s correct. It’s spring according to the calendar, but it seems like Mother Nature has other plans. The nation’s Midwest is experiencing unprecedented spring storms. Climate change is a real thing. Despite the opinion of naysayers, the climate is experiencing extreme fluctuations. Recently, Los Angeles County witnessed in less than three months historic and deadly wildfires followed almost immediately by record rain and flooding. Ice sheets are melting. Just beyond the Antarctic Peninsula lies, what scientists are calling, an “iceberg graveyard.”

In the Scotia Sea, many of the icebergs escaping from Antarctica have begin to melt, depositing sediment from the continent that has been trapped in the ice onto the seafloor. This occurrence has encouraged researchers to study more about how the Earth has reacted during warmer periods. They are drilling in the region to target several periods when the climate is thought to have warmed dramatically.

One is a warm period in the middle Pillocene about 3.3 million ago, when average global temperatures were two to three degrees warmer than today. Another region there represents the end of a more recent ice age about 130,000 years ago, when sea levels rose by about five to nine meters.

Such periods, researchers believe, may serve as analogs to the continent’s future behavior due to anthropogenic global warming. Currently, the global average temperatures on Earth are projected to increase by between about 1.5 degrees and 4 degrees Celsius relative to preindustrial times, depending on greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere over the next few decades. These and other scientific findings have placed an increased spotlight on the perils of climate change.

If Earth reaches the 2 degree Celsius mark, we are pretty much in limbo. The last time Mother Earth was this warm as it is now, was 11,000 years ago. The Earth wouldn’t just be hotter than currently, it would be a lot drier as well. Which would impact economies, as well as infrastructure, and agriculture, not to mention weather patterns. Rising temperatures will affect sea levels -- which it’s already happening -- that will cause small islands and low-lying coastal regions to disappear in the ocean. Ecosystems, as well as species that are unable to adapt, will be irreparably damaged and disappear altogether.

The person who set the 2 degree Celsius mark was an economist. Dr. William Nordhaus saw the warming planet as dangerous and a threat to the global economy. That was in 1975. He was convinced that an increase in the global average temperature of 2 degree Celsius (which is caused by man-made carbon dioxide, that we are able to control or maintain at least) will change our climate for the next 100,000 years.

Closer to home, the southland has received heavier rainfall this year than in all of 2018, according to WeatherNation TV. Even snow made an appearance. And the last time it snowed in L.A. was in 1962. Las Vegas was also dusted in white powder, which left many locals and tourists in confusion, and somewhat in fear of what is still to come in the near future.