There is a near-universal consensus in the scientific community that climate change is ravaging our planet, and it may already be too late to stop it. However, new data suggests that some parts of the U.S. may be warming faster than the rest of the globe and will approach dangerous levels even sooner.
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have released the findings of a new study that reveals that the Northeast of the United States is warming 50% faster than the global average and will reach the dangerous 2 degree Celsius warming level 10-20 years before the rest of the planet.
This 2-degree Celsius target is an estimate set by scientists to create a sort of “danger level” for our climate. Some argue the target should actually be a bit lower than that. Scientists say that if we cross that boundary, some of the worst climate impacts may begin to be seen.
Among these are increased natural disasters, warmer and wetter winters, the dying out of certain species, and massive drought. It is also possible that some parts of the planet, such as the Middle East, could become completely unlivable, creating a refugee crisis that makes the Syrian refugee crisis look like a drop of water in the ocean.
Some effects of global warming are already being seen throughout the world. 2016 was already the hottest year in recorded history. The ice caps are melting at a dangerous rate, which could eventually cause massive global flooding.
We can already see the effects on life as well, with the coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the decline of penguins in Antarctica, and strange migration patterns of animals like foxes and butterflies. Wildfires, heatwaves, intense rainstorms, and other climate change-induced weather patterns are also up, globally.
This study shows that we need to look at more than just the global data to assess climate change. Certain regions may be more impacted by climate change than others and may need to be monitored more closely in the coming years.
Especially in regards to certain effects, like flooding and precipitation, the regional climate change data is more useful than the global data. Conversely, if you’re living in an area concerned with the rising sea level, global trends are more indicative of that.
The unfortunate news is that some scientists claim that we may already be over the tipping point for climate change, meaning we’ve gone too far to reverse it. Even if nations work to reduce or even eliminate carbon emissions, the damage to the planet may already be done.
That’s not to say that nations shouldn’t work to reduce emissions. Reports suggest that doing so could still lessen the consequences or the severity of the fallout. It may be time, however, to switch our thinking to working to mitigate the effects of climate change and working to preserve as much as we can instead of trying to reverse climate change itself.
Possible solutions being worked on are panels to reflect sunlight back into space, replacing our ozone layer, or fertilizing oceans to increase carbon dioxide absorption by the water.
What We Must Do
Regardless of whether or not climate change can be stopped, we now know that we need to research regional trends on a global scale in order to determine which regions are most at risk.
It’s then up to the world’s governments to work with the global scientific community to come up with solutions to the looming threat of global warming. If they don’t come through with tangible solutions and soon, it may simply be too late. The threat is closer than you think.
Image source: here