Letter to the Editor

Global warming/climate change

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

I see people commenting in a regional paper about climate change and global warming being a hoax. I assume they do not have cellphones or take medicine when they are ill as that would also be items based upon scientific research and technology. Here are some scientific facts based upon the latest research and technology:

Carbon dioxide levels from 0-1950 were never above 310 parts per million. Today they are 410 parts per million and rising.

The current warming trend is due to human activity and is continuing at an unprecedented rate.

The heat trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases is causing increased levels in the greenhouse gases which causes the Earth to warm.

Earth’s average temperature has risen 1.62 degrees since the late 19th century with most of the warming coming in the past 35 years. The five warmest years on record have been during 2014-2018.

The oceans have warmed 0.4 degree Fahrenheit since 1969 causing sea levels to rise by 8 inches in the last century.

Ocean acidity has increased 30% since the Industrial Revolution. This can have a huge impact on shellfisheries. As of 2015, acidification is believed to have cost the Pacific Northwest oyster industry nearly $110 million. Coastal communities in 15 states that depend on the $1 billion nationwide annual harvest of oysters, clams, and other shelled mollusks face similar long-term economic risks.

Greenland and Artic/Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. The rate in Antarctica has tripled in the last decade. Glaciers are retreating all over the world.

Satellite observations also reveal spring snow cover is decreasing.

Record high temperatures are increasing while record lows are decreasing.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in 2015 there were 10 weather and climate disaster events in the United States — including severe storms, floods, drought, and wildfires — that each caused at least $1 billion in losses. For context, each year from 1980 to 2015 averaged $5.2 billion in disasters (adjusted for inflation). If you zero in on the years between 2011 and 2015, you see an annual average cost of $10.8 billion.

Rising temperatures also worsen air pollution by increasing ground level ozone.

A 2015 study showed that vertebrate species — animals with backbones, like fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles — are disappearing 114 times faster than they should be, a phenomenon that has been linked to climate change, pollution and deforestation.

By 2100, it's estimated our planet will be 8 degrees warmer and oceans will be 1 to 4 feet higher, threatening coastal systems and low-lying areas, including entire island nations and the world's largest cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Miami as well as Mumbai, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro.

Higher temperatures are worsening many types of disasters, including storms, heat waves, floods, and droughts. A warmer climate creates an atmosphere that can collect, retain and drop more water, changing weather patterns in such a way that wet areas become wetter and dry areas drier.

We need to aggressively reduce our global emissions. That will be difficult to do while our current administration appointed a climate change denier to head the EPA, is trying to eliminate the EPA, refuses to attend global meetings on climate change, and is not supportive of protecting our environment.

— John Brostad, Storm Lake