Environment

This Shocking Photograph Reveals the Reality of Climate Change

September 15th 2015

By:
Thor Benson

There is a consensus among scientists that climate change is warming the planet and that something needs to be done to battle it. Despite what some deny, temperatures at the poles are rising exponentially, and factors such as rising sea ice do not disprove climate change, as sea ice is small and is actually expanded by land ice, which can be kilometers deep, fracturing into the sea.

One image that recently captured the attention of many was posted by the blog "I Fucking Love Science" on Sunday. The picture from German photographer Kerstin Langenberger shows some of the effects of climate change that we already see.

polar bear climate

"I see the summers being so pleasant (and warm) as never before," Langenberger writes in her Facebook post. "I see the glaciers calving, retreating dozens to hundreds of metres every year. I see the pack ice disappearing in record speed."

She writes that the male polar bears who are out where the pack ice exists can still find food, but the females on land trying to take care of the bear cubs find almost no food, and often, the bear cubs die. It has been estimated that if trends continue, two-thirds of the world's polar bear population will die off by sometime around 2050.

The Arctic poles are experiencing climate change at an elevated rate and appear to be warming twice as quickly as the rest of the world, on average. A new study has also revealed that burning all of the fossil fuels currently known to be available would melt Antarctica and cause the sea to rise almost 200 feet. The real cause of climate change—hint: it's not volcanoes, if you thought that—can be traced to many factors, however, human activities is a major one.

Record-breaking temperatures

We are witnessing a trend where we set records for the hottest year on record every year. It appears 2015 will be the hottest year on record, like 2014 was, and 2016 will be even hotter. The heat rise for 2016 can be partially attributed to a strong El Niño, which is bolstered by climate change.

"El Niño isn’t a storm that will hit a specific area at a specific time," research scientist Emily Becker wrote for the NOAA climate predictions blog. "Instead, the warmer tropical Pacific waters cause changes to the global atmospheric circulation, resulting in a wide range of changes to global weather."

Sea temperatures

The above image shows how August 2015 sea surface temperatures compared to the average between 1981 and 2010. The NOAA believes El Niño will continue through winter and into the beginning of spring, which would ensure 2016 will be a record-breaking year. NOAA scientists believe that there is a 95 percent chance of this happening.