Have you noticed the extremely hot summers and the equally chilling winters of recent years? The summers are hotter than before and the winters have been freezing us. This has been a result of our increasingly modern lifestyles and as Newton said, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, this has affected the environment in a major way.
Our ACs, heaters, cars, electricity, and even food have contributed to a major change in the climate to heat up like a greenhouse. This is also known as global warming, a phenomenon that has been long observed since the pre-industrial period in 1850-1900. The earth has been heating since then, a product of the industrial revolution that saw an increase in the production of gases like methane, carbon-di-oxide, and nitrous oxide due to human activities like fossil fuel burning and other human activities. These gases are also known as greenhouse gases, which trap the earth’s heat in the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse-like effect. It has been estimated that since the pre-industrial period, human activities have increased the global temperature by 1 degree Celsius and over 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade. While these numbers seem nominal, they carry tremendous weightage and effect over the global temperatures.
One of the main effects of global warming is warmer climates. The majority of the world’s landscapes are witnessing hot days and heatwaves. This causes an increase in heat-related illnesses like heat rash, stroke, and exhaustion. Warmer summers result in colder winters as the planet’s way to balance its temperatures, causing vast differences in the temperatures in summers and winters.
Along with hotter temperatures, the world’s oceans have been growing warmer. The oceans soak up the majority of the heat trapped due to the greenhouse gases and eventually melt ice sheets which leads to rising sea levels. This threatens marine life and the people associated with it. Warmer oceans have been bringing more severe cyclones in the seasons, causing flooding and landslides and destruction of communities and wildlife each year. In the year 2021, there have been at least 13 cyclones that hit the Indian subcontinent, the majority of which had been present in the Bay of Bengal itself. Meanwhile, there has been a case of delayed rainfall and subsequent possibilities of rain due to such sharp changes in the climate.