|▲ Left picture present, right picture 50 years ago past.As Greenland's glaciers melt due to global warming, not only large glaciers but also smaller ones have collapsed, revealing the ground everywhere. (License:NASA)|
This summer in Korea had the longest rainy season on record. The rainy season, which usually starts in mid-June and ends at the end of July, lasted until mid-August. The monsoon rains turned into localized torrential rains, causing casualties and a large number of injuries. Also of note, last year’s summer in Korea was the hottest on record with the highest recorded temperature in Seoul at 39.6 degrees Celsius. Also, last summer, Korea had its largest typhoon since 1904. Such extreme and abnormal weather is coming more frequently and in different forms. These adverse weather phenomena are being observed, not only in Korea, but also in other countries.
In Europe, a heat wave exceeding 40 degrees Celsius occurred this year. In Spain, the temperature rose to 42 degrees Celsius, the highest recorded temperature in 65 years. Death Valley in the U.S., which is famous for being the hottest place in the world, recently recorded the highest temperature in 107 years, exceeding 50 degrees Celsius. A series of record downpours have left China with 60 million flood victims and more than 30 trillion dollars in damage. Heavy rains raised the limit level of the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest, and there was a risk of collapse. Downpours also caused heavy property damage and loss of human life in Japan.
The cause of these abnormal weather patterns is global warming. The Siberian town of Verkhoyansk is one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth. Verkhoyansk recorded a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius this year, which is an abnormally high temperature for the town. These abnormally high temperatures also caused wildfires in Siberia. The Siberian heat wave moved to the North Pole, raising temperatures in the North Pole as well. As a result, the jet stream weakened and the cold air came down to mid-latitude areas, blocking North Pacific high pressure air from moving northward, causing torrential rains in East Asia.
Abnormally high temperatures caused by global warming are melting the Arctic's permafrost and Greenland's ice sheets. The permafrost of the Arctic contains carbon dioxide and methane. When the permafrost of the Arctic melts, carbon dioxide and methane are released into the atmosphere. The released carbon dioxide and methane will strengthen the greenhouse effect which will speed up global warming. Also, when glaciers in the Arctic melt, the proportion of glaciers decreases and the glaciers melt faster. This is because the sun's light is reflected by the white ice of the glaciers, so the smaller glaciers reflect less light and absorb a lot more heat. Dr. Ingo Sasgen's team at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany has been measuring the loss of the Greenland ice sheets since 2003. The rate of loss of Greenland’s glaciers increases every year, and in 2019, 532 billion tons of the glaciers’ mass melted. The loss of ice in the Arctic and Greenland is directly linked to rising global sea levels. Rising sea levels will cause flooding in coastlines the world over, threatening the homes and lives of countless people.
The earth has been rapidly heating since the Industrial Revolution. Over the past 10,000 years, the Earth's average temperature has risen by 4 degrees Celsius, but in the 100 years since industrialization, the Earth's average temperature has risen by 1 degree Celsius. The Earth is also gradually showing a ‘critical chain reaction’ that is occurring simultaneously. The 'critical chain reaction' is a phase in which climate change goes beyond the tipping point, and the effects of global warming will be amplified in a chain reaction. Carbon emissions must be reduced to slow the acceleration of global warming. To do so, everyone must strive for low-carbon emissions. Businesses should make efforts to develop green industries and the government should support such companies. Individuals should also practice living eco-friendly once a week, such as trying vegetarianism, eating local agricultural products, installing power-saving fluorescent lights, and even unplugging electrical appliances.
By Seo Hyo-Bin cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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