This week, DNA explores a strand called “Troubled Waters.” It’s about climate change and how it will affect our planet and future generations. To start it all off, we thought we would take a look at five reasons why you should give a damn about climate change.
As the climate gets warmer, our forests get drier, leading to better conditions for wildfires to spread. As a result, wildfires like the ones that ravaged Yosemite Park a few months ago are becoming more and more common.
Warmer weather disrupts rainfall patterns, bringing drought into places that usually can count on rain. Extended droughts due to climate change could drive nations to war, as they compete for increasingly scarce water resources.
One of the things climate change brings is extreme weather. Storms like Typhoon Haiyan in the Phillipines and Superstorm Sandy are powered by warm ocean water – water that has been rising in temperature pretty steadily since the early 1900s.
Those warmer oceans are melting ice at an alarming rate. Pieces of ice the size of entire states have broken off from Antarctica. And as these ice sheets melt, they raise the sea level. If you live on a coastline, that means your house might be at risk sooner than later.
If global temperatures rise more than 3.6 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that between 20 to 30 percent of all species would be at risk of extinction. The decade between 2000 to 2009 was the hottest decade on record, and projections have it rising as high as 11.5 degrees by the year 2100, if we don’t do anything about it.