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5 Lesser Known Impacts of Climate Change and Environmental Abuse

Are the summers burning your skin than ever before? If you shout out ‘yess!’ wiping off your tears, then climate change is real.

It is evident from the change in the environment around us. Its not just the heat wave. Change in climate brings droughts, rises sea levels, strengthens cyclones, hurricanes, and wildfires and so on.

The catastrophic impacts on the environment and everyday livelihood also bring socio-economic changes resulting in lesser agricultural yields, famine, conflicts, wars etc. A World Meteorological Organization report says that the world is five times more disaster prone than ever due to climate change and its consequences.

The abuse of environment by civilization-prone activities is taking a toll on the planet’s life.  In addition to the obvious effects of climate change and environmental abuse, there are a lot more happening that doesn’t get the mainstream attention.  

Here are 5 such impacts, a few bloody.

Abyss in Yamal Peninsula – The End of the World

Also known as the end of the world, this abyss in the Siberian region is a sink hole that is 80 meters wide with no depth measured till date. Experts speculate different reasons that caused the abyss.

Some say it is a ‘pingo’. (Pingo is a large chunk of underground ice that melts to create a hollow space). Volcanic eruption, meteor strike are also speculated to be the cause of the super-giant hole. 

The hole appeared in the forest region that is 19 miles nearby Yamal Liquefied Natural Gas project, which is Russia’s largest of its kind. Some scientists claim that it is caused by an underground explosion of the natural gas mixed with water and salt. 

According to Anna Kurchatova from the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Center, global warming caused the permafrost ice to melt, which released natural gas. This gas mixed with the salt of an age-old seabed in the region causing a cataclysmic explosion that created the hole. 

Antarctica’s Blood Falls

Antarctica’s Blood Falls discovered in 1911 have puzzled researchers for long. It was first thought that the reason for the blood-like waterfall flowing over the Taylor Glacier is due to red algae.

Later, it has been found that the red colored water is due to a salt water body trapped beneath the glacier for a million years. This salt water gets its red color when it oxidizes by reaching the surface through the glacial fissures making contact with the air. 

The discovery of a huge water body below the glacier has also falsified a previously understood phenomenon that water in liquid form cannot exist within such extremely cold glaciers of ice.

Does global warming has got anything to do with this Blood Falls?

Yes!  The rising temperature is responsible for the glaciers to become warm and allow this phenomenon of water flowing through its surface despite being frigid. 

Migration of Monarch Butterflies 

Danaus plexippus or the monarch butterflies fly a distance of 1200 to 2800 miles from the US and Canada to the forests in Central Mexico to escape extreme cold weather. 

This migration pattern of monarch butterflies is the most highly evolved of all the migrations of insects. Due to change in weather patterns and drought conditions, the number of species of adult monarch butterflies has considerably decreased and their migration to Mexico in the south for wintering has dropped down. 

Both extreme cold winter and dryer summer has reduced the population of this species. A 2013 report of WWF says that the number of migrating butterflies seen in Mexico has been at its 20 year low. 

Air Travel Turbulence

Climate change can make your air ride bumpier

Keep your seat belts fastened even when the sign is off. Clear Air Turbulence, which is the most unexpected form of turbulence happens in clear sky. Experts say with climate change such turbulence can be more common. 

These are caused by jet streams when the speed or direction of air movement changes rapidly.  Jet streams are normally found at a height of 30.000 to 40,000 feet in the sky, which commercial aeroplanes normally fly through. 

Climate change would result in the jet streams moving closer toward the hemispheres and the rise in temperature will also increase their strength resulting in more powerful jet streams. 

The air route between North America and Europe is considered to be more riskier as the strength of turbulence toward the Northern hemisphere would be rising. 

Since 1980, the number of injuries due to air turbulence has significantly gone up.

But there are no studies that link this rise in number directly to climate change.  By 2050, the average strength of turbulence could go up by 10 to 40 percent, says an atmospheric computer model from Britain. 

The irony is that the aviation industry that contributes a lot to the emission of green house gases should spend more dollars to combat this clear-air turbulence. 

Airlines would avoid flying through certain areas in the air making the distance longer than normal which would drive up the fuel and other operational costs. This would allow the air fares to go high considerably.

Rivers of blood

People of Wenzhou, a Chinese city, also known as China’s Jerusalem, believed that it is a sign of biblical Armageddon signalling the end of world, when they saw a river in their city turn blood red overnight.

What else would people think when they wake up at 5 am in the morning to see the river bloody. One of the locals say they were able to do fishing as usual and drink the crimson red water. 

Later, reports emerged that a few industries including a paper manufacturer, a food processing company and a textile industry, were dumping their wastes illegally. 

And this river of Wenzhou is not the only one to turn bloody, another river named Yangtze in 2012 and another one named Jian in 2011 turned red too due to industrial pollution. The latest one to change its color was Zhongting in Northern China on 12th April 2016. 

These are some of the least known impacts of climate change and environmental abuse.

Despite Donald Trump showing his intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement, other nations should pledge to combat climate change.  If you would like to add more impacts, please do in the comments section.

River of blood in the featured Image. Source: Washington Post

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