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The World Is At It’s Hottest – And It’s A Major Problem

As I write this piece, the temperature in Chicago is 90°F. Around the world, the hottest temperatures reach up to 122°F – only 12 degrees below the highest weather temperature ever recorded. Safe to say, it’s hot. Extremely hot.

Last month, we had our hottest June ever recorded. Then, July 6th was our hottest day. Now, it’s looking like 2023 will replace 2016 as our hottest year in history. And these records will only keep beating themselves if we continue this path.

But we are continuing this path, thanks to global warming and how we enable it.

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, is an aquatic conveyer belt that transports warm water from the tropics to the North Atlantic and then sends cold water back south. It’s a system that scientists consider a tipping point: once it changes, it can have massive consequences for the rest of Earth and its climate.

And unfortunately, it is changing. Because of global warming, and these new record temperatures, Arctic ice is melting and messing up the AMOC system. It could shut it down completely. And when it shuts down, it won’t be reversible.

It’s unsure when AMOC could potentially shut down. A new study led by Peter Ditlevsen, a climate physicist at the University of Copenhagen, said it could happen as close as in the middle of the 21st century. Though, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had a recent report that disagrees, saying they have less concern that it will happen this century.

Either way, if temperatures continue to rise, AMOC will shut down eventually and change weather patterns on both sides of the Atlantic.

“This is a really worrying result,” said Ditlevsen. “This is really showing we need a hard foot on the brake” of greenhouse gas emissions.

The surface ocean temperature around the Florida Keys has reached 101°F this week – temperatures that officials are comparing to being in a hot tub. Obviously, this is cause for concern of our oceans – of AMOC, of the life that lives in it, and the life that lives outside it: Us.

Natural disasters are hitting everywhere. Flash floods occurred this month in Pennsylvania that led to five deaths, mirroring the countless floods around the world in areas like Japan, India, and China. Landslides in Vermont caused authorities to voice concern over safety measures. There were 11 tornado touchdowns in the Chicago area just last July 12th.

If we keep things up, and don’t address climate change, these disasters will only get more frequent and more dangerous. Right now, they are a warning sign. But soon, without action, they will be a wound on our world that we cannot heal.

 

By Caileigh Winslade, Freshman, DePaul University

Instagram @fairytwist / Twitter @silverrebi

 

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Written by Caileigh Winslade

I'm your local writer, video editor, and game designer, but when I'm not creating things I'm probably fueling my rhythm game addiction or cuddling one of my four cats.

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