The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC AR4”), a stark new report from the global scientific authority on climate change, says the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people. The date, which falls well within the lifetime of many people alive today, is based on current levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The planet is already two-thirds of the way there, with global temperatures having warmed about 1-degree C. Avoiding going even higher will require significant action in the next few years.
The global average temperature has been increasing over the long term, and since 1891, it has risen at a rate of 0.68°C per 100 years. The temperature increase is particularly significant at the high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Dozens of people have died across Japan as the country continues to swelter under scorching summer temperatures. At least 44 people have died since July 9, with 11 dying on Saturday alone according to Kyodo News. In Kumagaya, a city near Tokyo, the mercury rose to 41.1 degrees (105.98F), the highest ever on record in Japan, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, almost 12 degrees hotter than average temperatures at this time of year. Climatologically speaking, temperatures are ranging from 4°-7°C above normal for many cities, so factor that in with the humidity for many days on end and the heat stress on the body can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
The sea level is on the rise due to the thermal expansion of the oceans and increased runoff from melting glaciers and ice sheets, and ocean temperatures are also increasing. The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC AR4”) has concluded from these observations that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” According to Washington Post report on July 14, an 11-million-ton iceberg is parked precariously close to the tiny village of Innaarsuit — a glacial faceoff that pits 169 residents of Greenland against the biggest iceberg many have ever seen. Their fate could be entirely dependent on the weather forecast. The iceberg is 650 feet wide — nearly the length of two football fields — and rises 300 feet above sea level. In terrifying pictures, it literally casts a shadow on a hilly outcropping of Innaarsuit, dwarfing boats, homes and businesses.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. The global atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased 40% from a pre-industrial value of about 280ppm to 390.9ppm in 2011, and the rate of increase became larger, reaching 2ppm per year in recent years. Source: Ref. 1, 2 The IPCC AR4 clearly states: “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations.” Using the multi-model approach, observed changes in the global average surface temperature in the 20th century have been simulated only when the increase in anthropogenic forcing has been taken into account, and not when they have not; that means that temperature increases in the second half of the 20th century cannot be explained without considering anthropogenic influence. In conclusion, climate change is no longer theoretical. It is real, it is all around us, and it is going to get much worse. As more and more people and their families live through the effects of climate change, it will become hard to ignore.