The Only #10YearChallenge We Should Care About

The internet has been bursting at its seams with a #10YearChallenge since this New Year. The most popular posts amidst celebrity transformations was a post about the condition of glaciers a decade ago and now. Many actors who seem to have recognized the significance of climate change and the effects it has on the environment have taken to Instagram to spread the word. This challenge may not have been very beneficial otherwise, but it did bring to spotlight the urgent need for humanity to take action. The posts have highlighted the conditions of glaciers, coral reefs and drought-stricken landscapes after a decade. On the same note, scientists have reported that 2018 was the warmest year for the oceans. It is believed that the Arctic Sheets are melting 6 times faster compared to 40 years ago. This is a record low for January this year.

Oceans are warming up due to the same reasons our atmosphere is slowly getting baked. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons are trapping the heat from the sun and not allowing it to escape the atmosphere, which has caused all the excess warming. The substantial increase in the greenhouse gases occurred after the industrial revolution. As humans were replaced with machines and machines needed energy, demand for fossil fuels was created. Before the harmful effects of burning these fossil fuels were discovered by humans, they had already tasted the luxurious life as a result of the automation of manual work. It was too late to turn back.

As a direct result, humans have increased the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere by more than a third through emissions, since the Industrial Revolution. Nasa has stated that these emissions have caused the temperatures to rise without any natural explanation. 2018 is the fourth warmest year, the records are constantly broken since the 2000s. Even laymen have noticed that the winters are arriving late and summers are lasting longer. Climate scientists are trying to explain that an estimated 93% of all heat that is trapped in the atmosphere, ultimately settles in the oceans. It is no wonder the coral reefs that are a million years old, are wilting amongst the various other qualms faced by the marine life due to warming seas.

The warming seas are only one part of the problem. In other news, it has been noticed that the Antarctic Sea Ice has melted to another record low this January. As of January 1, 2019, there were only 2.11 million square miles of sea ice. The area has constantly diminished since 1978 according to the National Snow and Ice Data center. Sea ice loss, especially in the Arctic and less so in the Antarctic, is one of the clearest signs of human-caused global warming. Another result of the warming atmosphere is the melting glaciers in the Canadian Arctic has exposed hidden land. Researchers are in agreement that this land has been hidden for over 40,000 years. It was further confirmed by Nature Communications that it is the warmest century for the Arctic in roughly 115,000 years.

The start of 2019 has been nothing but terrible for the climatic conditions of the world. Be it the sudden attack of the polar vortex on the Americas, or the Canadian Arctic Glacier melt, the climatic conditions are constantly deteriorating, moving further away from the acceptable conditions. As these polar oceans are facing a threat of climate change, the flora and fauna that has evolved in the last 4 million years to survive the climatic conditions presiding over the poles, are in imminent threat. Krill, clams, humpback whales, emperor penguins, and Adelie penguins are soon going to be endangered in the Antarctic region. Some breeds of the penguins depend on the ice sheets for mating, reproduction and basic survival. The retreat of glaciers and melting sheets are proving to be fatal for some species.

The earth is balanced on a carefully designed ecosystem. The endangerment of this ecosystem could prove to be terminal for the continued existence of life on the planet. Making changes in lifestyle to reduce carbon footprint, is the first of many steps that need to be taken to improve any chances of sustenance.

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