Global data showed that a powerful El Niño in 2016, marked by warmer waters in
the tropical Pacific Ocean, helped to drive atmospheric temperatures well past
2014's record highs. Some researchers suggest that broader Pacific trends could
spell even more dramatic temperature increases in years to come. The global
temperature data come from three independent records maintained by NASA, the US
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the UK Met Office.
All three data sets document unprecedented high temperatures in 2015, pushing
the global average to more than 1 C above pre-industrial levels.
[i] The year 2016 was the
hottest on record.
NASA’s Global Climate Change website announced in
August 2016: ”Two key climate change indicators — global surface temperatures
and Arctic sea ice extent — have broken numerous records through the first half
of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite
data. Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest
respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880,
according to scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in
New York. The six-month period from January to June was also the planet's
warmest half-year on record, with an average temperature 1.3 degrees Celsius
warmer than the late nineteenth century.” NASA's Goddard Institute for Space
Studies reported that January 2017 was the third warmest January in 137 years.[ii]
Galvania et al wrote: ”As the global human population continues to grow, so
too does our impact on the environment. The ingenuity with which our species has
harnessed natural resources to fulfill our needs is dazzling. The escalating
extent of anthropogenic actions destabilizes long-standing ecological balances.
The dangers of mining, refining, and fossil fuel consumption now extend beyond
occupational or proximate risks to global climate change. Among a plethora of
environmental problems, extreme climate events are intensifying. Storms,
droughts, and floods cause direct destruction, but also have pervasive
repercussions on food security, infectious disease transmission, and economic
stability that take their toll for many years. For example, within weeks of the
catastrophic wind and flood damage from the 2016 Hurricane Matthew in Haiti,
there was a dramatic surge in cholera, among other devastating repercussions. In
a world where 1% of the population possesses 50% of the wealth, those worst
affected by extreme climatic events and the aftermath are also the least able to
Benko wrote: ”Climate change is not equally felt across the globe, and neither
are its longer term consequences. Forced migration of humans is one of the least
understood consequences. The United Nations identified 64 million “persons of
concern,” whose numbers have tripled since 2005. The numbers of humans at risk
correlates with climate turmoil, represented by data from NASA’s Common Sense
Climate Index. The correlation is striking. Climate change is a threat
multiplier: It contributes to economic and political instability and also
worsens the effects. It propels sudden-onset disasters like hurricanes, floods, storms
and slow-onset disasters like drought and desertification. These disasters
contribute to failed crops, famine and overcrowded urban centers; those crises
inflame political unrest and worsen the impacts of war, which leads to even more
displacement. There is no internationally recognized legal definition for
“environmental migrants” or “climate refugees,” so there is no formal reckoning
of how many have left their homes because climate change has made their lives or
livelihoods untenable. In a 2010 Gallup World Poll, though, about 12 percent of
respondents — representing a total of 500 million adults — said severe
environmental problems would require them to move within the next five years.[iii]
[i] Nature 20 January 2016.
[ii] NASA Global Climate Change. March 8, 2017
Jessica Benko . How a Warming Planet Drives Human Migration. Climate
displacement is becoming one of the world’s most powerful — and destabilizing —
geopolitical forces. NYT Climate Issue APRIL 19, 2017
- Discussions of Environmental Science and Human Ecology were developed by
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water resources, air quality, energy sources, and preserving habitats. The Environment
is available from Alpha Online as a Printed book or as an eBook
Edition for Download. The 2018 edition is 286 pages.
The Author, Stephen Gislason MD
Download The Environment as an eBook.
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