By Elizabeth Willoughby on
Superstorms and floods have become commonly occurring disasters. The climate is changing and human influence is speeding it along.
It’s no secret that the human introduction of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as well as our exploitation of Earth’s resources, particularly cutting down forests, are the biggest driving forces behind climate change, but the connection between this and extreme weather might not be so obvious.
Environmentalist and activist David Suzuki explains: “Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere have surrounded the planet like a heat trapping blanket. As CO2 levels rise, temperatures rise. The warmer atmosphere causes more evaporation from the world’s oceans and lakes and even the soil into the sky. With each additional temperature increase of one degree Celsius, the capacity to hold water increases by seven percent. The atmosphere soaks up water vapour like a sponge, then releases it in torrential downpours that overwhelm our communities. At the same time, the extra heat pulls water from soil and plants on land. Droughts become deeper and longer.”
Suzuki says that today there is four percent more water vapour in the atmosphere above the oceans than just 30 years ago. “Now is the time to act and reduce carbon emissions,” he says. “We need an urgent, far-reaching response that makes a difference today and for our children tomorrow.”
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