In July 2017, the perfectly preserved bodies of a Swiss couple that went missing 75 years ago in the Alps have been found as global warming forces glacier ice to retreat. Bernhard Tschannen, the CEO of the Swiss ski company whose employees were the first to discover the bodies said, “every year we lose a meter or half a meter of ice…eighty years ago this glacier was much bigger than it is now.” While ice surrounding the scenic landscape of the alps are indeed melting, the rate at which it is happening remains a cause for contention.
It was also during that time, the world read of Larsen C’s trillion-tonne breakaway iceberg that is four times the size of London. While the event did not cause sea levels to rise significantly, the breakaway iceberg has sparked and intensified global discussions concerning climate change and its effects.
Inherently, changes to the earth’s climate are natural and perpetuated by the Greenhouse Effect and its gases. Naturally-occurring, the greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, are necessary for trees and plants to survive and to keep the planet warm enough for life to exist.
However, since the mid-20th century, warming trends have grown at an alarming rate, much of it contributed by mankind’s intensive industrial activities. The term climate change in this context, refers to the “build-up of man-made gases in the atmosphere that trap the sun’s heat, causing changes in weather patterns around the world.”
Changes such as rising of sea levels and global temperature, glacial retreat as well as ocean acidification are long-term and can significantly affect the Earth’s ecosystem. Today, although more people are made aware of the perils of climate change, there is a real fear that chances for climate mitigation efforts to avert catastrophic warming are becoming increasingly slim.