Watching cloud formations is far more than looking out for cute and funky shapes in the sky – some scientists have recently found our cloud cover may lead to far more dangerous and catastrophic increases in global warming than previously predicted.
According to a new research paper published in the science journal Nature, average global temperatures will rise by at least 4 degrees celsius by the year 2100 and possibly, by over 8 degrees celsius by 2200, if current carbon dioxide levels are not reduced, because of the way clouds form to cool our planet.
As we pump more carbon dioxide into the air by the burning of fossil fuels to heat our homes and power our cars, that noxious gas decreases the amount of sun-reflecting clouds naturally forming, which help cool our planet.
The study says these changes to the Earth’s cloud formations will increase our planet’s temperatures by 3 to 5 degrees celsius in about 86 years. They base this on statistics, which show a doubling of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere over the next 50 years.
That level of global temperature increase is double what the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says is the danger-zone for humanity, as a hotter planet will wipe out the food, water and other natural resources we depend on for survival, leading to starvation, poverty, war and disease across the world.
Global warming changes everything.
Global warming has been linked to increases in human sickness and disease, as warmer temperatures create ideal conditions for disease-carrying organisms such as mosquitoes, which carry West Nile Virus, bats which can bring with them rabies, and rats, which were responsible for the Bubonic Plague outbreak in the 14th century which killed an estimated 25 million people.
As our climate changes, so too will the world’s economic systems, as our natural resources suffer through droughts, floods, severe snow, ice and rain storms, and extreme temperatures. Forests for example, have fallen by the mountain pine beetle, which thrives in warmer winters. Billions of dollars of lumber has been lost to global warming.
Although our oceans are rising because global warming is melting the globe’s ice sheets at our poles, we’ll run out of clean drinking water. Global water consumption has tripled over the past 50 years – just in the United States, Americans consume 3.9 trillion gallons of water per month!
From shortages of water, food, wood and other natural resources, to an increase in sickness, global warming has always painted a bleak picture of humanity.
However, until this study, we thought we had more time to work things out and reduce our impact on our planet.
It’s human nature to put off today what can be done tomorrow. And the changes to our individual lives to help reduce the effects of climate change, are so teeny-tiny small, that it’s even easier to put those off for another day.
From finding environmentally-friendly ways to get around, to reducing, recycling and reusing as much of everything as we can, individually, we don’t have to make big changes to slow global warming.
However, all of those individual changes we make add up, and we as the dominant species on the planet can’t put off any longer doing the green thing, because a warming Earth anyway you crunch the numbers won’t wait for us to act.
Climate change has always just been about degrees of change. A mere one degree increase can make our planet inhabitable for human life. However, the recent study in Nature says we could be facing an increase of at least 4 degrees celsius on average globally, and that’s why we simply can no longer put off dealing with global warming.