The extreme cold that hits parts of the planet could be a sign of climate change. One of the main causes of extreme cold is the amount of fossil fuels we continue to release into the atmosphere, altering traditional weather patterns.
In 2018, for example, parts of Europe experienced a deadly winter that resulted in environmental damage, including the deaths of many people. Places like Texas in the US, which rarely experience deadly weather, now have extreme cold snaps, which is a problem when the state never prepared for such eventualities.
The Earth’s temperature has increased over the last decade, indicating that the climate is changing. 2016 was a historic year in the mid-Atlantic region, where a deadly blizzard dubbed Snowzilla sent snow up to three feet across New York, Washington, Pennsylvania and Baltimore.
Experts have predicted that the blizzards will become more severe due to climate change, as global warming causes numerous disturbances in the climate. According to scientists, one of the effects of climate change is the interruption of the polar vortex that causes a colder winter.
Oceans absorb about 90% of the additional heat produced by human impacts. But as the Earth warms, the water expands to take up more space, leading to rising sea levels. This is due to melting glaciers and ice sheets, causing increased snowfall in areas such as Siberia.
Winters could become shorter but more severe if we don’t reduce emissions immediately. One study shows that hot weather can cause the atmosphere to retain more water, which can lead to precipitation and increased snowfall when temperatures drop.
How a changing climate affects us
The results of climate change are already evident. People all over the world are affected by the problem of rising sea levels. Nearly 1.5 billion people are at risk of flooding if sea levels continue to rise, and this is most dangerous for communities living less than 100 kilometers from the coast.
The sea absorbs most of the heat from human activities and climate change. This threatens communities closest to the sea due to melting ice sheets and rising sea levels, which can lead to flooding. The sea is also becoming more acidic due to rising carbon dioxide, endangering marine life.
There are other ways in which a changing climate will increasingly wreak havoc.
The frequent temperature swings that bring more precipitation will trigger severe storms that can destroy homes and leave people homeless. From 1970 to 2019, severe storms accounted for 45% of all reported deaths. To prevent rain from damaging buildings, underground water systems can be installed to automatically remove water that could collapse a structure.
Climate change is also preventing a sustainable environment due to its effects on the earth. The lack of water in some areas prevents the growth of crops and causes hunger and, consequently, many deaths. By 2050, about three-quarters of the world’s population will be affected by drought.
Extreme heat is another risk factor. Heat waves can cause wildfires that can be difficult to put out because they spread so quickly and uncontrollably.
At the same time, climate change is leading to species extinction. Higher temperatures, frequent wildfires and other weather hazards threaten many species that are already suffering from habitat loss, pollution and other stresses.
However, we can manage the effects of climate change on our lives and the environment. These solutions include weather-resistant buildings, weather risk insurance and sustainable living. Every little tweak, like recycling trash properly, switching to renewable energy, and planting trees as carbon sinks, can go a long way toward mitigating climate change.