August 19, 2016

The El Nino is Creating Havocs as Predicted

Weathermen, world over, had predicted that the latest El Nino weather phenomena would be the severest in history since its official recognition in 1950. Now, we are witnessing the accuracy of their predictions. We had seen history-making floods in India, the United Kingdom, in our country and the severe typhoons in the Philippines, during 2015. Furthermore, the year 2015 had taken its place in history as the hottest year since the 1880s,
Only a few days into the new year, 2016, many places around the world are experiencing severe cold weathers. Reecord-breaking winter storms causing heavy snowfalls in the United States of America are causing havoc: shutting down traffics, closing offices, business and schools, flight cancellations, causing great inconveniences and rising death tolls, etc. The latest cold weather in the US is making history as the most record-breaking one.
Snow, sleet and icy winds are being faced in many countries in the region—China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan are reeling under heavy snow and freezing lakes. Even Vietnam and some subtropical islands in the Pacific Ocean are having snowfalls. Hong Kong had been hit by the coldest weather conditions in sixty years. Even in Thailand, where I am staying at the present, is facing unprecedented cold spells this year. Bangkokians, rarely seen in warm clothings are adorning them even in the afternoons to protect themselves from the chilly winds that are making the situations worse. Reports of cold weather related deaths, especially among the elderlies were in the news.
All these freak weather conditions are the works of none other than the latest El Nino, which is predicted to be the most severe in history. More devastations, worse than the above mentioned could be further expected. Scarcities of water are starting to be seen in some countries where the lakes are starting to dry up and our country should be prepared to cope with such conditions during the coming dry season. Droughts are also to be expected if the El Nino conditions persist. As an agricultural country, water is most essential for our prosperity and development. Without water our economy  would surely be crippled. Necessary measures to conserve and manage water resources should be properly thoughtout and implemented. These measures are just the short term or emergency solutions to thwart off water shortages. However, long term plans and actions should be implemented. To do so the present situations should be thoroughly and accurately assessed and analyzed. Good planing to implement sound and effective line of actions must be based on accurate analyses.
As an eco-conscious person, I had taken much interest in the climate change issues and had written and contributed many articles to GLNM to create public awareness of the causes and consequences of the deteriorating climate conditions. Again, I would like to take the liberty to repeat them, because I thought it necessary and believe this would get more attention now than ever before, as the effects of the climate change are quite visible at the moment.
Climate changes are caused by the global warming, a fact most people may be familiar, but for the benefit of those who are not, I would like to explain briefly. So what are the factors that instigate the global warming? The greenhouse effects trap the sun’s heat from being reflected back into space and thus resulting in the rise in temperatures that are the main causes of the global warming. The greenhouse effects are caused by the greenhouses gases: such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gas, Methane (CH4) gas and water vapours in our atmosphere. The more excessively these gases are emitted, the more severe the greenhouse effects would become and the chain reactions would result in the rise in temperatures causing the global warming that would trigger the climate change, culminating in the stronger El Nino phenomena that led to the current freak weather conditions.
Now that we know what are behind all these adverse weather conditions that are getting worser with the passage of time and if left unchecked, drastic actions should be taken urgently. Among the greenhouse gases, the CO2 is the main contributor of the greenhouse effects. Thus cutting down the CO2 emissions should be given the priority if we want to fight the climate change.
CO2 emissions are generally caused by the industries and vehicles using fossilized fuels or bio-fuels, the forest fires and the slash and burn agricultural practices. The latest climate change conference, the COP21, held in Paris in December 2015 came up with a deal that included one clause, which is to reduce the use of fossilized fuels and to eventually phase out the fossilized fuel use altogether. If that objective could be achieved, it would benefit the humankind greatly. However, most critics of the COP21 were skeptical of that.
In my opinion, instead of waiting for those ambitious deals to take effect, we should be doing what we could, on our own. The most effective and easiest way would be to restrict timber extractions and grow more trees, which I had been advocating ardently, whenever the opportunities arose. Trees absorbs the CO2 gases present in the atmosphere and release the Oxygen back. More trees mean less CO2 gases and less CO2 gases mean less global warming and thus lesser effects on the climate change.
In one of my previous articles, I had mentioned about the carbon source and the carbon sink. Here, I would like to explain what the carbon source and the carbo sink are, for those who are not familiar with these terms.The carbon source is one that emits the CO2 gases and the carbon sink is the one that absorbs the CO2 gases and retains it for a long period before releasing the Oxygen back into the atmosphere. Thus, if we could strike a balance between the two, we would be able to achieve a carbon-free condition, which would contribute greatly to the control of the temperature rise and help put a rein on the climate change.
If every nation should have been more responsible, in the past, and reduced CO2 emissions by any means and had grown more trees to reduce the CO2 presence in the atmosphere, these recent devastations caused by the freak weather conditions would not have occured. However, we should not be waiting for others and before it’s too late, we should start striving to become a carbon negative nation by growing more trees and conserving the existing forests by restricting loggings. If left unchecked, the weather conditions would get worser, a condition that could create more havoc than the present situations we are witnessing now.


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