Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year By JUSTIN GILLIS

Summary of the Article: On Wednesday January 18th, 2017, an official report declared that in 2016, the Earth had reached its highest annual temperature ever recorded. This was the third year in a row that temperatures have drastically surpassed the previous years record. As the world continues to warm, temperatures keep climbing closer to levels that will leave permanent damage on the natural world and the human population. Scientists are saying that the primary cause of increasing global temperatures is the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are emitted around the world. People in all different parts of the world are being afflicted by this drastic change in temperature; those in Africa have been experiencing extreme drought, people in the Arctic are battling coastal erosion, and the residents of Phalodi, India, experienced the hottest day ever recorded in Indian history. NASA has calculated that the planet has warmed over a half-degree Fahrenheit from 2013-2016. This is the largest temperature increase over a three year period in NASA's records. Although it can be widely concluded that global temperatures have increased drastically over the past few years, there are some differing opinions amongst research organizations about the specifics of this specific global warming.

"In 2015 and 2016, the planetary warming was intensified by the weather pattern known as El Niño, in which the Pacific Ocean released a huge burst of energy and water vapor into the atmosphere. "

Analysis of Article: There are a number of articles from different news sources about this topic, and for good reason. The finding that 2016 has been the hottest year ever recorded is shocking and scary news. The amount of articles about this climate change only exemplifies why this topic is noteworthy. "Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year," the article that this project is about, is specifically important because it explains how one hot year is something that makes scientists curious, but three consecutive years in which the heat record has been broken is an indicator that the world is undergoing really big climate changes. Without articles like this one, everyday people wouldn't be able to understand the magnitude of global warming and the issues that the Earth is facing, in terms of climate.

"...the bigger factor in setting the records was the long-term trend of rising temperatures, which scientists say is being driven by increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases."

My Big "Takeaway": The main thing that sunk in with me after reading this article is that the damage that has been done to the Earth is irreversible. This sounds like a very simple "takeaway," something that I should have already known based on the fact that I am half way through the AP Environmental Science course. I don't want it to seem like I am naive and that this is some shocking news, because neither of the two are true. This is my takeaway not because I was unaware of it, but simply because I had a shred of hope that we could reverse the human induced destruction. There was some part of me that believed there was a way to get the Earth back to the way it was before humans. Instead of giving me reasons to hope, this piece demonstrated how much we have damaged our planet. The last paragraph in this article explains that experts are saying that an increase of 15-20 feet in sea levels is inevitable at this point in time. We are never going to be able to go back and change that. This rise in sea levels will happen. Coastal cities will drown as a result, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. It's a stark and upsetting reality, and all we can do at this point is try to not to twist the knife further. It's this reality combined with the feeling of powerlessness that makes this my big "takeaway."

"The heat extremes were especially pervasive in the Arctic, with temperatures in the fall running 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal across large stretches of the Arctic Ocean."

Credits:

Created with images by Rusty Clark - "Desolation Row" • Christopher.Michel - "Polar Bears near the North Pole"

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