It’s a hot time in this old world all right! New scientific studies are showing worrisome findings that the earth’s temperatures are reaching the warmest they’ve been in over a million years. That’s bad news for the 6.5 billion inhabitants of this planet, as well as for most of the animals who inhabit it – especially those inhabiting colder regions. These studies show that the earth’s temperature has been rising rapidly, in the area of nearly 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.2 degrees Celsius in the past 30 years alone. The average surface temperature is now around 15-16 degrees Celsius; and if it rises another 1 degree C. serious, possible irreversible effects will occur, so said a researcher from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
The higher temperatures are mostly being caused by human induced heat from burning forest land for crop planting, as well as exhaust emissions from automobiles and coal and oil burning power facilities, the researcher, James Hansen, noted. Another researcher, Alan Robock from Rutgers University, noted that further temperature rises of 2 to 3 degrees Celsius will make the earths temperature the same as at was around 3 million years ago, when the ocean levels were about 30 feet higher than they are today.
What this means for all of us, including Wally the Walrus and his pals is that life will be quite different on old Terra Firma, especially in the Earth’s Arctic regions, where effects of global warming are becoming even more accelerated. Arctic regions, where polar ice and snow actually reflected the suns rays, now have areas of dry land and open water which are absorbing solar heat. Animals such as Wally and his friends, as swell as Polar Bears, seals, and other Arctic creatures could even become extinct within the next hundred years.
How are these changes effecting people living in other areas, including here in Israel, is becoming evident with different weather patterns and temperature changes. For example: those hot, sultry, summer days (and especially nights) used to come only in about mid to late July. Now, we feel them in mid June! Winter temperatures are warmer as well, with far too many balmy, even summer-like days in mid-January. It might not be long before average summer temperatures in Israel may be similar to what they are now in countries like Kuwait and Dubai!
If the oceans do rise, even 10 or 15 feet, large coastal cities will have massive problems, especially those on the coast of large oceans including New York City, Antwerp, Hong Kong and Tokyo, may find themselves partially under water. Even Israeli coastal cities will not be immune, as some of this water will eventually find itself into the Mediterranean.
It’s not too late to try to reverse some of these trends, although these efforts will drastically affect the lives of most people with use of fossil fuels being either severely curtailed or even banned altogether. For creatures like Wally, however, these efforts may be too little – too late.