Climate change is accelerating, and the record books are struggling to keep pace. It’s clear that the effects of climate change are exponential – here’s a look at a few of the many dubious records that were smashed during 2016.
Not Just Melting Ice Cream
Like ice cream, our ice caps are best kept frozen – and did you know that our ice caps play a key role in moderating the global climate? They reflect the sun’s radiation and keep the polar regions cool. We all know that climate change is causing the ice caps to melt, but did you know that the rate at which this is happening is rapidly accelerating? 2016 had the fasted rate of depletion to date!
To Hell Or High Water
Antarctica’s ice sheet contains almost 90% of the world’s ice, and – worryingly – the latest simulations indicate that it may be melting quicker than we thought. Scientists now fear that sea levels could rise over six feet by the end of the century. Needless to say, this would be catastrophic for low-lying and coastal communities around the globe, and would leave our neighbouring Pacific Islands partially under water. Not to mention the five small islands in the Solomon archipelago that are already submerged as a result!
According to NASA, 11 of the 12 months in 2016 were the hottest versions of themselves since records began. Us, Kiwi’s were no exception to the global heat wave; 2016 was our hottest year in a century - talk about melting ice cream! Putting 2016 aside, let’s look at the underlying trend: 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded, until 2015 came along. And now that 2016 is taking the lead, even the most wildly talented of skeptics would be hard pushed to deny that there’s a pattern emerging here.
Record Sea Ice Break-up
Concerns are mounting over a huge fissure in Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf, which may cause a chunk the size of Auckland to detach. That’s essentially over 5,000 square kilometres. To put it into our terms, if you were to pack together tubs of our ice cream side by side in a layer one-deep, you’d need almost 650 billion to cover it.
Thanks to climate change, dry regions of the planet are becoming dryer, and few places are harder hit than the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia is currently suffering its worst drought in 50 years, leaving 18 million people in urgent need of aid.
Let’s Keep Cool!
It’s becoming increasingly clear that we’re on the verge of runaway climate change, and that’s a destination with no return ticket! If we want to avert the impending disaster, we have to kick our fossil fuel habit and go all-in on renewable energy. Let’s get serious about curbing our carbon emissions, and keeping the planet like we keep our ice cream – cool!