The Current Situation of Climate Change
Global warming seems to be taking toll on the climatic patterns of the earth.
The effects range from desertification of previously wet geographical regions, melting of ice lands, emergence of irregular patterns of ocean currents to rising levels of seas and oceans. Desertification has been quite pronounced in several regions of Northern Africa and vast lands of Asia in the recent time. This situation has left residents of these areas without a means of livelihood as agricultural activities are no longer tenable in these areas. As such, previously fertile regions have had to depend on food donations that are often not adequate. For instance, the Horn of Africa recently had their worst drought in history.
This saw several families walk several miles in search of water and food. The livestock of the local communities were left to their own devices by the biting hunger and prolonged drought. This left humans more vulnerable than ever as the animals that they would slaughter at times when alternative sources of food were completely lacking went missing (B. Chad M. & S. Van Deveer 2011).
The effects of desertification have not been alien to Asia either. For instance, the southwestern parts of China had a serious drought that left dams dried up in 2010. As such, the government had to use a lot of resources to provide water for these populations, as that was the only alternative way to ensure sustainable livelihood for them. In Thailand, the effects almost brought to a naught fishery activities that have remained sustainable since time immemorial. Particularly, the regions around the MekongRiver and the northern parts of Vietnam’s farmland are certainly under threat of total desertification. According to records from the United Nations, these new climatic trends similarly affected animals and humans leaving vast hectares of lands underproductive or completely untilled.
Besides, the United Nations has had to divert millions of funds to providing relief to these populations (Hansen, J 2000). In Europe and Australia, desertification has led to dramatic shrinking of areas under agricultural activities. For instance, wheat farming in Europe hit its all-time low in the year 2011. This came as a result of several rainless months that cut water supply by rivers flowing from France and Germany. In fact, the situation was only comparable to the drought that was experienced in 1976. However, the effects on wheat farming have been a major cause for concern.
According to meteorologists, most regions in Europe and Australia are currently receiving a paltry 40% of their rainfall levels. And worse still, this trend promises to continue into the future if records from the last two decades are anything to go by. Furthermore, the same effects have been felt in the United States where many wheat millers have had to close shops due to inadequate supply of wheat to their firms. These are serious concerns considering the fact that these companies form some of the economic pillars of the global or regional economies (Bauer S 2009). Australia has particularly experienced dangerous bushfires in the recent past due to prolonged droughts in previously wet regions. For instance, the recent fires that consumed the greater area of Victoria became international news due to the geographical extent and the magnitude of damage that resulted.
Understandably, the fire spread so fast that Australian fire fighting agencies could not possibly control it. This was probably due to the extremely dry conditions that prevailed coupled with the increasingly strong winds blowing across the region. This exposed to a greater extent the temperature and pressure gradients that have become more pronounced between different regions over time. For instance, wind often blows from high pressure regions to low pressure regions. As such, strong winds implied that hot areas have become extremely hot while cool areas have remained relatively cool.
Ideally, this exemplified magnitude of climate change and what it portends to the future of the earth. The raging fires in Australia caused serious destructions as well as loss of lives. Agricultural farms that had produced good agricultural yields were literally burnt to ashes. Besides, natural wildlife in the forests was seriously disrupted as animals run to different places for their safety while a significant number died in the fires. This could have been worse it the continents were not separated by oceans because the dry conditions in Asia and Africa would have certainly fueled the raging fires (Susskind L. E.
1994). Global warming has caused a rapid retreat of ice cover in the Arctic region as well as the mountain glaciers. This is attributed to the rising global temperatures that are basically as a result of adverse human activities. According to meteorological experts, the rate at which glaciers are retreating, especially on Mount Kilimanjaro near Kenya, is particularly worrying. In fact, if the trend is not stopped, these mountains maybe completely free of their ice cover.
However, the melting ice has caused considerable rise in the levels of oceans and seas to the extent of displacing human populations. This has greatly disturbed economic activities that have thrived in these regions for decades. For example, fishing is no longer possible in certain areas of Alaska because the retreating ice has destroyed the beaches, thus making landing almost impossible. As such, people living in such areas are forced to start their lives over again. In fact, there are cases where they have to learn skills to enable them engage in completely different economic activities.
Although it has helped in diversifying the people’s economic activities, the fact that it forces people to change their lifestyles is quite a nuisance (Hansen J. 2000). The effects of global warming have been profound in Greenland and the neighboring islands. According to scientists, the Arctic region around Greenland is melting so fast that the intensity of the ongoing process cannot be possibly compared to any region on the planet. Already, over 40% of its ice cover has been lost leaving the people’s lifestyles completely disrupted.
However, this has the other effect of increased sea levels, as well as submergence of the sea shores which has become a major tourism attraction. For instance, the resulting moraines and other geographical features that have resulted due to the rapidly melting ice have created very spectacular scenes worth spending money to visit. As such, families from Australia and Asia have been trooping to Greenland to see the new geographical wonders. Although it can be rightly argued that this has had economic benefits for Greenland, the total destructions caused so far are just unimaginable. Fertile soils that previously gave good agricultural yields have completely eroded to the extent that they can no longer support any meaningful agricultural activities (B. Chad M.
& S. Van Deveer 2011). The global climate change has caused a significant alteration of the ocean currents. For example, there has been a gradual increase in the speed of winds as a result of the changing temperature differences between the land and the sea. Consequently, there has emerged stronger upwelling that greatly affects the ecosystem of the seashores. According to the International Meteorological Association, alteration of the speed and direction of wind can completely destroy transport systems as well as marine life.
As such, it requires the intervention of environmental players to maintain these infrastructures. In particular, the southern parts of Australia have experienced the worst destructions due to altered wind patterns in the last two years. This calls for a global intervention in order to reverse these trends (Bauer S 2009).Although only slightly noticed, climate change has re-defined different cultures that have historically remained unchanged. For instance, the Masaai people in Kenya are known globally for cattle keeping. In fact, this practice is so much entrenched into their culture to the extent that they would attack neighboring communities and take away their livestock.
According to the Masaai culture, they were given the sole responsibility to keep livestock by their gods. As such, it wasn’t uncommon to find a single individual member of the Masaai community keeping more that 600 hundred heads in on homestead. In fact, the entire community would feed on nothing else other than meat, milk and blood because cultivation was alien to the Masaai region. However, climatic uncertainties have pushed the entire community to modify their lifestyle and change their food preferences. For instance, the community has recently embraced cultivation agriculture after successive severe droughts in the last five years left more than half the total number of their animals dead. Due to the fact that their only source of livelihood had become increasingly scarce, professionals from the area embarked on public education to have the community growing a variety of crops in order to diversify their source of food.
Indeed, this has been successful as formerly dry plains of Masaailand are getting greener by day (Rosen Gail E. & Katherine F. S 2011).