The Climate Crisis
- It is not an unknown fact that the human race was warned about the phenomena of global warming and the possible consequences of it on the earth, even before the prediction turned into reality.
- Heavy industrialization and relentless exploitation of natural resources for the sake of development since the last fifty years was bound to catch up in some way or the other and so it did.
- Today, the earth pays the price as it suffers from extensive global warming and other environmental imbalances with no environmental protection left to protect its inhabitants from the consequences.
- The consequences of such phenomenons are, meanwhile, not directly human being centered.
- They are first seen on large-scale elements of the environments, the critical thresholds of ecosystems, crossing which would unleash an even larger scale downward spiral across ecosystems and thereby harm the human race as well.
- The IPCC began considering such impacted large-scale elements more than twenty years before it began to be visible – the concept of tipping points.
Tipping Points of Climate
- The term of ‘tipping point’ was initially coined by scientists to talk about the critical thresholds of climate, which when exceeded often causes irreversible changes in global climate.
- During a major climatic imbalance between 1905 to 2005, the IPCC had drawn the limit line of global warming at a level of 4 degrees C or more, beyond preindustrial times. But the earth has been tarnished so much and for so long that the significant levels today have dropped as close to 1 degree C or 2 degree C level – which are very thin boundaries but have massiv aftereffects.
- Scientists have identified about 15 different large scale earthly elements as tipping points. Some of them are the Greenland, the Antarctic Ice Sheets, Boreal Forests, Permafrost, and Tundra.
Climate Tipping Points – The Biggest Problems
- The most important and alarming aspect about climate tipping points is that these are critical thresholds that the human race cross, even without realising. This is because climatic debacles do not have immediate affects.
- For all we know, the current nearly irreversible climatic conditions could be the output of the seeds that our ancestors had sown.
- One of the biggest problems of tipping points can be taken as the one of ocean warming.
- The ocean has absorbed about 93% of all the overheating induced by global warming.
- As it is a liquid state of nature, they heat a lot faster and deeper than any solid mass. Thus sparing the earth from facing the aftermath of the exploitation of fossil fuels by humankind.
- Now it may look like ocean warming is just another harmless side effect, but it is not. It is anything but a harmless blackhole.
- As per scientists, the oceans have begun releasing some parts of their bottled-up thermal energy.
- What this entails is that the contribution of thermal energy towards the already heating atmosphere will boost global warming significantly.
- It must be noted that the enormous heat capacity of oceans may make such an impact seem insignificant, but it cannot be ignored that even a small amount of energy released into the atmosphere can increase the temperature significantly.
- Ocean warming is simply one example from the dozens out there, which are reacting in similar or more uncontrollable ways while we as important elements of the environment fail to mend our ways.
Warnings of Climate Tipping Points
- There have been more than enough warnings of climate tipping points by scientists and organizations alike. But the most persistent and evidence-worthy warnings have been from the IPCC.
- The first mention of a climate crisis of this kind was by the IPCC in its Third Assessment Report in 2001. All they could describe then was the existence of large-scale deformities with the probability of triggering large-scale changes across ecosystems.
- However, during this time, they hadn’t exactly pinpointed their assessment with the words ‘climate tipping point’.
- However, in their Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, they didn’t just mention the crisis with the term ‘climate tipping point’ clear cut but also turned to use this term for many forthcoming assessments to come.
- In their Fifth Assessment Report, they went on to define the climate tipping point and one of their prime choice of phrases was “an abrupt climate change” which was meant to be alerting enough.
- The climate tipping points are today aptly defined as the level of change in system properties beyond which a system reorgansies, usually non-linearly, and doesn’t reset to the initial state even if the causes of the changes get eliminated.
- Thus, the consequences remain even if the causes get reduced, which is why in this case prevention is better than cure.
- These assessments are always let known to the public in order to prioritize this crisis as of equal importance as other global issues, if not the most.