Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year By Josh Green

For the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row. Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. This is due to the simple fact the Earth is heating up. With significant data to support this statement, scientists believe temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization. After El NiƱo took place in 2015 and 2016, huge amounts of energy and water vapor have been released into the atmosphere, as well as the immense amount of Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gasses being released. These gasses are released in tons of millions of pounds everyday, and have undeniably caused an overall heating of the Earth. This leads to events such as the ice caps melting, water levels rising, and rapid coastal erosion.

Even at current temperatures, billions of tons of land ice are melting or sliding into the ocean. The sea is also absorbing most of the heat trapped by human emissions. Those factors are causing the ocean to rise at what appears to be an accelerating pace, and coastal communities in the United States are beginning to spend billions to fight increased tidal flooding. Sadly, their pleas for help from Congress have largely been ignored. The finding that a record had been set for the third year in a row was released on Wednesday by three government agencies, two of them American and one British, that track measurements made by ships, buoys and land-based weather stations. They analyze the figures to correct for known problems, producing an annual average temperature for the surface of the Earth. The modern era of global warming began around 1970, after a long stretch of relatively flat temperatures, and the past three years mark the first time in that period that three records were set in a row. Of the 17 hottest years on record, 16 have now occurred since 2000.

Analysis of Article: For a topic that is so prominent and relevant to the entire world, I found it surprising how much of an impact humans can make so quickly. It is really amazing to see that for the last three years, the entire Earth has begun to heat up, and the data is there to support it. There is no event to blame for it, no person to say caused it, but just the unavoidable truth that humans care more about themselves than the environment. We use products that contribute so much to global warming and greenhouse gases, but yet we seem to turn a blind eye away from what we are doing. It was very interesting to see all of the data points around the world collecting the same information, yet there are still many people that deny this is taking place. It is disturbing to see that things we do have worldwide effects, but because it does not take place on our front door, we do not react to it.

My Big "Takeaway": This article was very eye opening for me, for I didn't even know it was taking place in the first place. I have noticed the winters becoming much more mild in the recent years, but I had no idea there was data to show why it was happening. I didn't realize that this was such a prominent issue, an issue that affects literally every human on Earth, but yet we continue to ignore it. Especially with the Trump administration gaining power, a group that denies climate change is real, will do nothing to prevent this. This is truly a tragedy, and a crime committed by the elected officials to ignore this issue. I have learned from the article that if something isn't done on a global scale, it will be too late and global warming will be inevitable. It would be a disastrous event, and can be prevented, but awareness needs to be raised to get something to be done about this, awareness that isn't currently there.


Created with images by NASA Goddard Photo and Video - "Ponds on the Ocean"

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