by Megan Monahan – Staff Writer
With all the recent natural disasters that have occurred it leaves some begging for the answer to one simple question. Is the world ending? Sorry to disappoint, but no, the world is not ending. In fact, it’s actually something much worse. Climate change.
Climate change is the evil child produced from factory use, gas emissions from cars, the usage of electronic items, the beef industry, oil spills, and fracking. The combustion of these fossil fuels and other greenhouse gases releases high amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Many believe that climate change only effects the polar ice caps, however those people would be wrong. The issues that are present because of climate change is yes, the melting polar icecaps but also changing rainfall patterns, global temperature spikes, and an increase of frequency in hurricanes.
Now I know what many of you are thinking, wait what? Did you just tell me that the old wives tale of climate change is the reason that parts of the south are in ruin with thousands of people without homes? Yes, I did; and here’s why. Hurricane Irma was as strong as it was because of the 1.2 to 1.8-degree Fahrenheit warmer water temperature, which allowed the warm water to seep deeper in the ocean. That combined with weak high-altitude winds, which help end the storm, made Irma the most devastating hurricane we have seen in the United States since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Hurricanes however are not the only thing that is being caused by climate change. The oceans themselves are becoming more and more acidic every day. And this is how it’s happening. The ocean plays a massive role in maintaining the Earth’s carbon cycle balanced. However, as more and more carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere the ocean absorbs a lot of it. When the ocean and the carbon dioxide combines with sea water it reacts to create carbonic acid. This carbonic acid is the reason that the oceans are more acidic and why the coral reefs are decaying and dying across the world.