Nature Climate Change

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Introduction 

“Earth’s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880” (NASA, NOAA Data…) The atmospheric co2 levels of Earth have always increased and decreased over a period of 650,000 years. However, as of 1950, carbon dioxide levels have increased to 400 million, which is significant when compared to the highest of 290 million nearly 300,000 years ago. Keeping the CO2 levels low is important because it corresponds to global temperature, ocean temperature, and ice sheets.

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Although it is important to maintain low levels of carbon dioxide, it is the highest ever because of serious climate change. Indeed, the rise in sea levels, extreme events, and ocean acidification are some examples of climate change due to an increase in carbon dioxide levels. Climate change is a serious problem as ice sheets are melting, the Earth is warming, and severe storms are increasing.

However, if we promote clean energy, change wasteful habits and reduce our intake of beef and milk, we can reverse environmental damage. The ice sheets have been melting at an astonishing rate because of climate change. The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are extremely large and have been formed for thousands of years and played a key role in the environment. One reason why the ice sheets are important is that they contain about 99 percent of the earth’s fresh water and prevent the ocean levels from rising. Another reason why ice sheets are important is that they help palaeoclimatologists to study the atmosphere of the earth in prehistoric times. Palaeoclimatologists extract large ice tubes from ice sheets and scientists can collect information on the climate of that period by studying the chemicals in each layer of the ice tube. As temperature increases rapidly, glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets begin to melt.

Furthermore, due to the rising temperature, ice sheets are melting faster than can be produced affecting ecosystems across the planet. In addition, Ice sheets melting contribute to rising sea levels. When ice sheets melt in the Antarctic and Greenland, they increase the ocean level as Peter Wadhams states, “Greenland is now the largest single contributor to global sea level rise, it’s melting ice cap adding some 300 cubic kilometers (72 cubic miles) of water per year to the ocean” (Peter Wadhams).

Not to mention that if the ocean level increases, even more, coastal habitats are at risk of flooding. Scientists are especially concerned about the effects of melting do to New York City, New York; Washington, D.C; San Francisco, California; or New Orleans, Louisiana being in danger of becoming underwater cities if the ice sheets continue to melt. Not to mention, the melting of ice sheets will result in the dilution of the ocean’s salinity as National Geographic explains, “Tons of freshwater are added to the ocean every day by melting ice sheets.

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