Climate Change on Earth 

Rebecca Garcia Mendez, Writer

“People get confused on the issue, but the facts are crystal clear. The ice is melting, the Earth is warming, the sea level is rising. Those are all facts.”-Dr. Piers Sellers

Global warming and climate change are nothing new. It has been present for decades and then some, but in more recent years, it’s taking a bigger effect than ever before. Global warming is best defined as the recent warming of the Earth’s climate as a direct result of humans releasing greenhouse gasses. Greenhouse gasses are gasses that trap heat. As humans evolve, so does the technology they use. Since around the 1950s, temperatures have begun to rise and because of the greenhouse gasses being emitted into Earth, global warming has occurred. This is a pressing issue because this can cause harmful alterations to the environment. More specifically, as humans are burning more fossil fuels, icecaps are melting, coral reefs are being threatened, and the air is becoming more harmful. 

The production and burning of fossil fuels create air pollution that is not only safe for human health but is a toxicity that creates climate change. The burning of this coal raises the temperatures of the Earth high enough that ice caps begin to melt. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses have raised temperatures, and because of this, glaciers and ice caps are melting at a rapid pace. This melted ice is being sent into the sea and retreating back onto land. When this water retreats to land, coastal cities could be flooded and huge storms could happen in cities and towns. Sea levels can also rise to 20 feet. The ice caps influence the global climate as well. Furthermore, the brightness of ice reflects a lot of the sunlight out into the atmosphere. This essentially gets bounced back into space. But when these ice caps are melting, the heat isn’t able to reflect back and instead is absorbed into the ocean which then creates warmer climates. In 2014, scientists discovered that the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets were more vulnerable to melting than they had predicted. Although the melting of ice caps can lead to land getting flooded, the warming can also release massive amounts of methane that were previously frozen permafrost. With more ice melting, more methane is released. Methane is a hazardous air pollutant and greenhouse gas. This creates a risk for humans, and more specifically premature babies, as it contributes to the number of premature deaths every year. 

Another negative effect of global warming is the toxicity that it brings to the air. As the temperatures begin to rise, this leads to an increase in allergies and harmful air pollutants. Longer pollen seasons create more allergic sensations and longer asthma episodes. Due to climate warming, the earth will begin to experience more extreme weather such as intense heat waves and severe droughts. Heat waves negatively impact air quality and cause an increase in ground-level ozone pollution. With high temperatures happening for long periods of time, a drought increase substantially. These droughts can lead to forest fires. With fires occurring in great numbers, large amounts of carbon monoxide are released into the air. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that causes climate warming also causes plants to grow. When carbon dioxide numbers are increasing, plant production increases as well. But these plants carry allergies and increase the number of airborne allergen pollutants – degrading both outdoor and indoor air quality. Respiratory problems grow, like asthma, allergies, and more. A cycle of unhealthy air pollution begins – a cycle that leads to climate warming; which will then result in even more air pollution.

Global warming and climate change are two real things that are present in today’s society. They were present years ago. They were present yesterday. They are present today. They’re going to be present tomorrow. And if our actions don’t change they are going to be present for a very long time.