Six years back, the earth’s temperature has been on the rise, with 2015 smashing the records. It is by far Earth’s hottest year since record-keeping began in 1880. Contributing to that record heat is what scientists refer to as “super El Niño.” Nonetheless, scientists have predicted hotter days ahead.
“El Niño is a naturally occurring worldwide weather disruption caused by unusually warm seawater piling up in the eastern Pacific. One tends to develop every three to five years.”
Adapting to Climate Change
Vector-borne diseases, crop failure, coastal erosion and heat stress are all serious threats related to climate change and global warming. “There are things people and governments can do to make themselves better able to tackle climate change,” says Minnesota’s Hellmann.
People have the power to mitigate and adapt to those threats, she says.
When we mitigate something, we reduce its severity or seriousness. With climate change, that could mean burning less oil, gas and coal. People might do this by conserving energy or switching to renewable sources of power, such as solar and wind. Many cities and countries around the world have started doing this.
But the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that people already have put into the atmosphere won’t disappear for many decades. So temperatures will rise for many years to come, even if everyone cuts back on fossil fuels now. That means humanity must learn to adapt. People must adjust the way they live in ways that suit how warming global temperatures will be changing their environment.
For instance, Asseng at the University of Florida has studied what will happen to wheat as temperatures warm. The goal is to help scientists breed new crops that can tolerate heat better. Such breeding can take decades, which is why they have already begun.
To prevent mosquito-borne diseases from spreading, people can monitor imported tires and other goods for the insect’s eggs and larvae. They also can create good health-care systems to take care of people when they get sick.
Before long, many homes and businesses may have to be moved away from coasts, where they are vulnerable to sea level rise. Already, some Alaskan coastal towns are moving inland. And cities and countries may need to better prepare for more severe weather, such as floods and droughts. New York City, for example, has ranked six zones for their risk from damage during a future hurricane with the strength of Sandy. There are plans to evacuate those zones if needed. That won’t prevent buildings from getting damaged. But it could save lives.
Schools are especially good places to start finding climate-change solutions, Hellman says. “They are hotbeds for trying out sustainability ideas that can be rolled out into the community afterwards.”
Original Content at societyforscience.org