You may have observed some interesting weather changes in your area over the past few years. Some of the changes may be minor, and some are borderline bizarre.
Texas isn’t particularly known for its cold weather. However, the state has seen blizzards and snowstorms for the past three years. It is an incredible phenomenon for the state.
The weather changes have had serious effects. The state experienced power failures. This endangered people’s lives.
The concept of global warming suggests a rise in the planet’s temperature. It has devastating effects, especially on the ocean’s ice caps. It doesn’t seem to be the case in Texas. So,
Why is it snowing in Texas? Global Warming?
The extreme cold weather directly consequences the Stratospheric Polar Vortex breakdown.
The Polar Vortex occurs when the sun shifts to the lower hemisphere. In February, the Vortex collapsed, causing gusts of cold air down south at an unprecedented rate.
The Greenhouse Effect
The Greenhouse effect is a major contributor to rapid climate change. Since 1760, we have been using fuel got from crude oil. Using such fuel has negative effects on weather patterns.
Fuel from crude oil caused positive development in science and technology. Because of the fuel, we can power large machines like cars and planes. While these fuels are good, they harm the environment.
When the fuels burn, they release carbon waste in gases. These gases get heated and rise to the inner atmosphere.
These gases get released into the air. They rise due to the Earth’s radiation or heating from the sun. As a result, the gases from a layer in the atmosphere create a blanket-like effect.
Most of the sun’s energy is radiated back into space off the Earth’s surface. The blanket effect creates a layer that reflects heat down to the Earth’s surface. They also create a greenhouse effect.
If radiation can’t escape the layer, we have a situation where the global temperature rises. The average global temperature has been rising exponentially over the past years.
Reducing the Greenhouse effect is possible. All we need to do is reduce carbon pollution. The United Nations sets goals for countries to reduce their carbon pollution.
Each country has its target, and the targets get reviewed yearly. If all countries meet their targets, the Greenhouse effect will reduce.
Reducing the greenhouse effect depends on a joint effort.
Countries with many industries have the highest pollution levels. China has the highest pollution because it has many manufacturing plants.
Using cleaner fuel sources like solar and wind is vital to reducing the Greenhouse effect.
What Causes A Rise In Emissions?
Increasing carbon emissions is harmful to the climate. It causes strange changes. These changes impact us negatively, as we will see later in the article.
There are several causes for an increase in the pollution rate. They include:
The rapid growth of manufacturing industries
Rapid growth in industries is one of the leading causes of pollution. Many industries get formed where pollution laws are not strict.
The industries in such areas are less regulated.
It results in having high levels of carbon pollution. It isn’t good for the environment.
Many industries are responsible for a significant share of carbon pollution. Stricter laws could minimize pollution.
Deforestation and destruction of forests
Forests are important to the environment. They play a vital role in reducing pollution.
Green plants absorb carbon gasses during the day. They release oxygen in the process.
Therefore, forests are important in minimizing carbon gas levels. They replace carbon gases with oxygen.
Destroying forests means less clean air, as carbon gasses will remain in the atmosphere. It also means less oxygen for us.
Nitrogen fertilizers cause a worse greenhouse effect than carbon gasses.
These fertilizers contain Nitrous oxide (N2O). It is a major environmental pollutant.
Nitrogen Oxide destroys the ozone layer. It causes UV light penetration which is harmful to the skin.
The ozone blocks most UV radiation and keeps us safe. UV radiation can cause sicknesses like cancer. It can also cause severe burns.
Nitrogen fertilizers are one of the main contributors to the shrinking ozone layer.
The consequences are severe. Natural fertilizers are better for the environment.
Fluorinated waste products are products with fluorine as a compound. They are the most pollutive emissions and are the most potent greenhouse gases.
It has a greenhouse effect of more than 20000 times that of carbon (IV) oxide gas.
The main fluorine pollutants are the manufacturing plants responsible for the gas’s production.
Other main sources are spray manufacturers.
Upscaled livestock farming
Livestock farming causes increased methane gas emissions. Methane gas has a similar effect to carbon (IV) oxide gas emissions.
Regions with intensive livestock farming have greater emissions.
It could be ranches or dairy farms that keep many cattle.
Reducing this type of pollution is unlikely. Many people depend on cattle to provide food and other basic needs.
Impact Of Climate Change
Climate change has serious consequences for the planet. It has and will impact our daily lives. The rate of climate change has increased in recent years. It is getting to a point where it will become impossible to change.
These changes might still get corrected through our joint effort. Everyone has a part to play.
Here are some impacts:
1. Increase in temperatures
The Earth will continue getting warmer each year. Because of pollution, radiant heat will not easily escape into space. It will cause an irreversible warming effect.
The pollutive gases in the atmosphere cause a greenhouse effect.
Previously cold regions will become warmer, and hot areas will keep getting hotter. The average temperature has risen over the past several years.
2. Extended growing seasons
Some areas will become conducive for agriculture as frost periods lessen. People in these areas will be able to use their land for longer periods during the year to grow crops.
It might expand food production in many areas that land previously covered in ice.
3. Prolonged drought
Areas outside the tropics will experience frequent and prolonged drought. The droughts will get severe, especially during the summer. As the global temperatures soar, the Earth becomes drier each day.
Extreme heatwaves will become common and relentless, and this will have consequences. Some of the dangers of prolonged drought are famine and large tracts of agriculturally unproductive land.
4. Melting polar ice caps
As global temperatures increase, polar ice caps melt. The northern icecaps have shrunk by 10 percent alone in the last 30 years. The ice mass decreases each year rapidly.
The consequence of receding icecaps is an increase in ocean volume. The water level rises, and many coastal areas and cities will soon be submerged.
The ice caps hold a huge volume of the planet’s ocean water. Should the ice caps melt, the ocean’s volume will increase.
5. Increased rainfall
There will be an increase in rainfall, particularly in the northern hemisphere. Previously arid regions will become hot and wet.
Climate Change Solutions
We can take many steps to mitigate global warming and climate change. You can summarize them into three categories:
1. Embracing Clean Energy
We should try to switch to clean energy to fight against climate change. If we reduce reliance on crude oil, it will make a positive change. Electric vehicles are better for the environment. These vehicles do not produce carbon waste.
Renewable energy will enable us to reduce pollution. Examples of sources of renewable energy are the sun and wind. Nuclear energy is reliable and produces little waste.
Rainforests are vital to our planet’s climate. Rainforests are helpful as they help reduce Carbon dioxide levels in the air. They also contribute to the production of global oxygen levels.
Many rainforests have gotten destroyed because of human activities. These activities are logging and encroachment. Forests tend to shrink in places where the human population is constantly rising.
We must have stricter laws to protect forests. Restoring forests will help minimize the negative effects of climate change.
2. Reducing Emissions
Pollution is the biggest cause of climate change, especially in countries with many manufacturing industries.
Manufacturing remains important to the economies of many countries. We should still consider its impact on our climate.
When all nations work together, we can reduce pollution. The United Nations, through the Environmental Program, has set targets for member states to cut down their pollution levels. Governments ought to enforce pollution-cutting measures.
Texas isn’t renowned for its frigid weather. For the past two years, it has had blizzards and snowstorms, unusual for the southern state.
The state has seen passive power outages due to weather changes. It has put people’s lives in jeopardy.
Hundreds of fatalities were recorded in 2021 throughout the state due to hypothermia and extended exposure to the cold.
The collapse of the Stratospheric Polar Vortex is directly responsible for the unusually cold weather.