Weather Phenomenons

Global warming is discussed on Senate floors and in sixth grade science classes. The topic has become somewhat of a mockery, but the potential implications could result in global catastrophe.

The impact of environmental change is already apparent as the polar ice cap melts creating flooding in low-lying countries like Tuvalu, where 15 percent of the population has been forced to flee the country in the past 10 years.

2015 was the warmest year on record. The warm temperatures that quickly transition to frigid weather in Kansas are only a piece of what global warming can do. Natural disasters such as wildfires, storms, droughts and floods have become regular occurrences. Although many signs of dangerous climate change surround us, global warming is still classified as a theory.

It hasn’t been hard to notice Kansas’ bipolar weather. El Niño’s irregular weather patterns are caused by Pacific Ocean heating. The winds from the East shift to the West and create inconsistent weather patterns every two to seven years. This year these patterns have  been growing drastically warmer.

The 2015 El Niño has been classified as a super El Niño because the Pacific Ocean temperatures are warmer due to the weak winds which allows for the ocean to heat more creating one of the strongest ever recorded. El Niño can cause droughts, floods and wildfires; it has already caused $35 million in damage and 23,000 deaths. El Niño has also been blamed for coral bleaching and the Arctic ice cap melting.

The Arctic Sea ice is a main habitat for polar bears. They rely heavily on ice to hunt for food and shelter. With the ice disappearing, they starve.  

Coral reefs provide natural protection from storm surges and may even hold medical cures. The rising temperatures of the oceans bleach the coral, killing it. The death of coral reefs could leave places like the Caribbean and fish/seafood companies in a serious economic downfall.

So what are the causes for these events? Carbon dioxide emission created through the burning of coal, fossil fuels and natural gas are responsible. Although there isn’t a single solution for global warming, there are temporary solutions that could reduce carbon dioxide emissions and heat. Solar, wind and geothermal energy are all renewable resources that would reduce pollution. Choosing a hybrid car or using incandescent light bulbs in your home would help.

The permanent damage of global warming poses the most serious threat to our survival on this planet. We may already be out of time to make the very significant changes needed.