Global warming is a bit of a misnomer. While the average earthly temperature does climb in correlation to the amount of atmospheric carbon, people tend to rely on their observations of the weather to validate or repudiate the science behind climate change. After an unusually warm winter, many will claim they have personally experienced the effects of global warming, while others might point to record low temperatures in other parts of the world as evidence to the contrary.
While such observations are convenient to use as evidence for already-formed opinions on the matter, these should not hold as scientific proof for or against the climate change science. When observing weather-related phenomena, it is important to look at the factors concerning the weather and to determine how slight changes in global temperature might impact them.
Tides, for instance, will shift depending on the temperature of the water and the seasonal currents. One of the most significant controlling factors in weather across the globe, tides oscillate in somewhat predictable patterns, supplying cold and warm water to various parts of the world. With the changes in global temperature and the melting of icecaps, infusions of cold water from ice melt drastically change the orderly machinations of the tides.
In this instance, strange weather is indicative of global climate change. The following are a couple of extreme weather phenomena and how global warming can exacerbate them.
The West Coast has been experiencing increasingly worse droughts each summer. Many scientists are attributing the dramatic uptick in dryness and wildfires to global climate change. Heres how:
Increased global temperatures have reduced the annual snowpack on mountains around the West Coast. Because of this, and the little remaining snow melting earlier in the season than usual, the availability of water during peak dry season is harder to find. Other human activity, including using water for irrigation and in urban settings, put an ever-greater strain on the water and result in drier summers.
With hotter, drier summers, vegetation suffers the most. Trees and shrubbery dry out quicker, and the buildup of dry, dead fuel in and around forested areas results in more forest fires, as seen this year in California. Fires become harder to control because the water is so limited and the availability of fuel has significantly increased.
A plethora of oceanic factors contributes to the worsening of tropical storms and hurricanes in recent years. First, simply having a higher ocean temperature will naturally intensify storms and hurricanes, which feed on warm air and water as they intensify. Warm air rises, creating the cyclone motion of hurricanes.
However, other factors also contribute to the worsening tropical The Rainforest Alliance and the sustainable farming organisation, UTZ, are merging. While the former conserves dwindling forest resources, UTZ derives from a Guatemalan (Mayan Quiché) organisation that produced sustainable coffee. Together, it would seem business and community action could be improved to benefit farmers, the environment, both business and consumer!
In countries where forest remains, farmers have been conserving natural resources in some ways for many generations. To grow crops sustainably has generally been the aim of small farmers who belong to their land, unlike the profit oriented companies who have been stripping natural resources. By 2019, new standards of true sustainability will be in effect on a global basis.
The certifications by both organisations allow some pesticide use, so organic farming is not an essential for growers. More emphasis in the future will be placed on workers and training, health and safety. Greater impact on politics and business practice by the new NGO can be expected, with the new CEO being Han de Groot. The figures support such a strong voice for forests, as they can absorb 10-14% of our carbon emissions. Without forest and swamp and marine absorption mitigation of carbon dioxide increase, temperatures will inevitably rise faster. As the US withdraws from the Paris Agreement, global warming politics is more and more about action, rather than denial.
Palm oil, coffee and community forestry represent major concerns about rainforest. This new organisation, still named as the Rainforest Alliance seems best fitted to prevent further steps to destroy environment, biodiversity and sustainability. More on their work will be found on their news section at The Rainforest Alliance.
For a plethora of climate change and global warming information, try our articles in “Climate.”