The rise of climate change is putting our planet in more and more and danger. Here are 10 distressing climate change facts you need to know about this year. Together, we can help make a difference!
1. 800 million people are vulnerable to climate change
800 million people (that’s 11% of the population) are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This includes extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.
2. The fourth hottest year on record was 2018
According to studies by both NASA and NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration), 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record. The planet keeps getting warmer due to the greenhouse gases that keep getting emitted into the air.
3. Climate change may cause an extra 250,000 deaths a year
World Health Organisation (WHO) conducted a study which estimated that between the years 2030 and 2050, climate change would cause 250,000 additional deaths each year! This will be caused by factors such as heat stress and malnutrition due to reduced food production.
4. Extreme heat could hurt babies’ hearts
A study conducted by the Journal of the American Heart Association states that by the year 2025, extreme heat in the air due to climate change could increase the number of heart defects in babies born in the U.S. If you’re pregnant or know someone who is, it’s best to avoid extreme heat.
5. 52 polar bears eat garbage so they don’t starve to death
According to a Russian government statement, 52 polar bears invaded the town of Guba in Russia and ransacked garbage dumps so they could find something to eat. The thinning ice caused by global warming is what prompted the polar bears to search for a meal that was more readily available.
6. Rising heat has caused coral bleaching
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), rising ocean temperatures have caused coral bleaching, which is when coral loses its colour. Coral bleaching is a sign that the ecosystem is failing and animals are starving. The main cause is rising ocean temperatures. The algae in the polyps that cling onto coral is what gives coral its colour. Environmental stress causes the coral to dispel the algae. So, no algae, no colour. If the temperature keeps rising, then it will trigger mass coral bleaching.
7. 96% of sea life has suffocated due to rising water temperatures
Similar to the point above, 252 million years ago in what is now known as Siberia, scientists believe a number of volcanic eruptions emitted carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and warmed the planet. 96% of sea creatures became extinct within a few thousand years which may seem like a long time but isn’t long in geological terms. This is one of the most distressing climate change facts. A group of scientists conducted an experiment for the magazine Science and concluded that as a result of the water increasingly becoming warmer, there wasn’t enough oxygen to support these creatures. Just think of all of the different sea creatures that could have existed today if it wasn’t for climate change!
8. Recent hurricanes dumped more rainfall due to climate change
A group of researchers recently conducted a study comparing fifteen hurricanes from the past decade to how they would’ve occurred before climate change. They concluded majority of the recent hurricanes dumped up to 10% more rainfall due to climate change. Warming oceans are a fuel source for hurricanes. This is bad news for the future as the planet gets warmer, hurricanes will dump more rainfall.
9. Unseen Arctic Landscape has been exposed after 120,000 years
Simon Pendleton, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, conducted a study that revealed Arctic glaciers have retreated and exposed rocky vistas. These rocky vistas have been hidden for 120,000 years since a time period called Eemian which was when average temperatures were 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The increased temperature is what led these rocky vistas to be revealed.
10. Climate change will make beer more expensive
A study published in the journal Nature Plants revealed if the current hot temperatures persist, the world’s barley harvest will decrease by 17%. With barely being the main ingredient in beer, the popular drink is now going to be more expensive due to reduced supply.
Which of these climate change facts did you find the most interesting? What other climate change facts do you know? How are you going to help combat climate change this year?
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Julie is currently studying s Bachelor of Arts (Professional and Creative Writing) at Deakin University in Australia. She's a hardcover book and journal collector, she owns way too many planners, and she keeps telling herself that one day she will go to Paris.