Global Warming: What Have We Done to Our Planet?

The Timelapse project, powered by Google in collaboration with Time Magazine and scientific organizations, offers a clear presentation of the changes global warming has made to our planet. We can see how Las Vegas grew from 1986 to this very day, and we get a clear presentation of the transformation of Dubai – the megacity that arose from a humble fishing village. The issue of global warming, which has been attracting attention for decades, is visualized through the Timelapse projec that shows the consequences of human activity to Earth. The growth of the cities may seem impressive in terms of urbanization and globalization, but the presentation of lakes and rivers drying up is greatly disturbing.

In 2014, the World Meteorological Organization started publishing videos with weather reports from the future. According to their reports, if the trend of continuous increase in greenhouse gas emissions continues, the average temperature of the lower atmosphere could rise by 4℃ by the end of our century. People may adapt to such changes, but the extreme weather conditions will disturb our ecosystem with droughts, floods, and storms. The dramatic weather reports from 2015, presented with this project, showcase low temperature, heavy rainfall, and environmental disasters.

When we monitor isolated extreme cases of environmental issues, we cannot identify global warming as their cause. Floods, storms, and tsunamis have happened throughout the entire history of our planet. However, when we approach today’s weather conditions in a broader context, we can understand that the shifts in temperature aren’t based on bad luck. They are a consequence of global warming. After last year’s climate reports, which confirmed that 2015 was unlike any other year in human history, the fact that the first month of 2016 brought more surprises is highly disturbing. January 2016 was the warmest January since 1880, the first year we have measurable data from.

The average temperature in January 2016 was 1.13℃, which exceeded the previous record of 0.95℃ measured in January 2007. Although the weather events on Earth are determined by solar energy, we cannot blame the Sun for the climate changes we are witnessing today. The greatest factor that influences our environment is the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The emissions from fossil fuels limit the release of energy in the universe. As a result, the carbon dioxide is trapped into the air. Humans and their actions are the main cause of the atmospheric and environmental changes on our planet.

People understand they are responsible for the emissions of fossil fuels, which cause the extreme weather conditions that affect their own wellbeing. However, most of them are not ready to abandon the comfort of modern transportation and house maintenance. If we keep closing our eyes before the facts, the global warming will cause damage that will make the lives of future generations miserable. Scientists predict the Arctic Ocean to be left without most of its summer ice by 20200. The melting can lead to slow release of the methane trapped under the East Siberian Sea. If the methane is released through a single discharge, the effects to our environment will be catastrophic. Methane, as one of the gases responsible for the greenhouse effect, will lead to greater global warming, which means that our planet will face more droughts, greater floods, and higher sea levels. We are aware of the environmental effects we are causing. Now, we have no other option but to start changing our lifestyles for the sake of preventing future climate disasters.

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