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Climate Change Changing Our Lives

Global warming is changing more than just the climate

Kianna Koeppen, Staff Writer

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Hurricane Florence, which is currently tearing across the southern United States, serves as another example of the increasingly prevalent effects of climate change.

It’s a fact that climate change can present itself in a variety of ways, one of which is an increase in the number of natural disasters. The multiple hurricanes and other storms that are transpiring cause many to wonder how much worse the weather could get.

“There is a difference between climate and weather, and we can’t say that any particular storm is due to climate change, but we do know that climate change makes large, dangerous storms more likely,” explained environmental science teacher Ann Akey. “We know the air is warming. We know the sea is warming. Basic physics suggests there’s going to be more evaporation. When you get warmer waters and warmer temperatures, you get more intense storms and those are conditions that lead… to hurricanes.”

It’s not something that could happen, it’s happening. The change in temperature is irreversible and permanent. The changes are so dramatic and unpredictable that people don’t know just what to expect.”

— Ann Akey

“Governor Brown said… the length of the fire season and the number of fires… is the new normal,” Akey stated. “The problem with that statement is there is no normal yet; there is still change, and [the climate] is going to continue to change. Even if we stop emitting carbon dioxide tomorrow, it’ll keep changing. What we do now and in the next few years will determine how much it changes, but we’re locked into a lot of climate change and it’s not like there’s a new normal at which things are going to stop. We’re going to see more intense storms, we’re going to see warmer temperatures, [and] we’re going to see longer fire seasons.”

While the effects of climate change are most clear on the other side of the country, California has seen more destructive fires in the past year, and the possibility of further changes still looms.

“Sea levels are rising [and] ice caps are melting because of… global warming,” Woodside student Hali Newman commented. “As for the future of our climate, I believe that is already changing. For example, the past summer hasn’t been nearly as warm as the last. The changes, while unpredictable, are present and already taking a toll.”

In regards to the climate, scientists are no longer talking about what could happen in the future but instead about what is happening now.

“We used to talk about 100 year floods and 500 year floods and the probability of them getting that big, but recently Texas had a 300 year flood within four years,” Akey recalled. “Statistically, we see an increase in the likelihood of intense storms. It’s not something that could happen. It’s happening. We have some say in how bad it gets but we don’t have the ability to roll it back. And right now, since we haven’t made any impressionable changes, the future does look bleak.”

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