• MA Senft

Science in Shadows: Global Warming & Climate Change in the Future

Updated: Aug 9

In the future Danielle shows to Jay, he sees the ramification of global warming on the snowy little town he grew up in, hundreds of years later:

“What you don’t know is that within one century of your time, a severe imbalance took place, largely caused by humans. Lack of respect for the planet and overuse of resources brought devastating droughts in some places and catastrophic floods in others. Humankind’s day of reckoning had arrived.”

Danielle gazed out across the landscape. “You see the aftermath before you. It was an unspeakable time of loss. However, discovery rose from the rubble.” She smiled. “People here live by the slogan ‘You can do the impossible when you’ve been through the unimaginable.’”

“I don’t understand,” Jay said in a low voice. Feeling ignorant, he tried to clarify his remark. “I mean weather doesn’t have this kind of power. How could it cause a transformation on this scale?”…

Danielle stared deep into Jay’s eyes, leaving no doubt that what she was telling him was, indeed, the truth. “The abuse was a prescription for extinction.” Her face was grim. “Toxic bacteria got released that had been previously buried in permafrost. From species that had died off millions of years earlier. Sadly, that was only the beginning. Mother Earth is equipped to take care of herself. And that she did. When glaciers started melting in the early twenty-first century, sea levels rose, destroying many large coastal cities. Tornadoes, fires, hailstorms, and hurricanes on a scale you cannot imagine eradicated entire regions.”

With her hand on Jay’s back, Danielle gently nudged him through the door. Outside the building she said, “Greed is how it all started. The rest was a trickle-down effect. No one really paid much attention to the rising temperatures and increasing storms at the start. But that soon changed when catastrophic weather became more widespread and billions of people lost their lives. Triggered displacements and deplorable living conditions inescapably led to all-out worldwide mayhem.”

Danielle continued her narrative, taking in the streets and the crowds moving through them. “The globe is noticeably warmer than it was in your day. Winter season temperatures range seventeen degrees higher on average than in 1947. There is no measurable snowfall. It’s nearly always above freezing. A pretty big difference from back then.” She looked to Jay to see if her words had sunk in. She could tell they had.

Is it possible that the altered weather of the future in Shadows of December might become a reality? What is the science behind the futuristic fiction? Let’s take a closer look at Global Warming to see…

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is a product of climate change. Climate change encompasses all kinds of extreme weather events. According to scientific theory, humans have contributed to the overall warming of the planet through industry, pollution and the addition of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Throughout human history, greenhouse gases have balanced out because much of the gases are naturally absorbed by the earth and oceans, resulting in a fairly stable climate. Since the industrial revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide has increased tremendously. This has resulted with a plethora of greenhouse gases that traps heat in the atmosphere creating a rise in temperature.

Why is this important?

So why does this matter? National Geographic contributor Christina Nunez explains, “Historically, Earth’s climate has regularly shifted between temperatures like those we see today and temperatures cold enough to cover much of North America and Europe with ice. The difference between average global temperatures today and during those ice ages is only about 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), and the swings have tended to happen slowly, over hundreds of thousands of years…As the mercury rises, the climate can change in unexpected ways. In addition to sea levels rising, weather can become more extreme. This means more intense major storms, more rain followed by longer and drier droughts—a challenge for growing crops—changes in the ranges in which plants and animals can live, and loss of water supplies that have historically come from glaciers.”⭐︎ see more of this article at National Geographic

What does the future of Climate Change look like?

Scientific expectations expect temperature to rise around 7° F in each coming century. Bringing with it changes in precipitation, acidic oceans, changes in ocean currents and severe weather. As the earth continues to rise in temperature, it will be less able to absorb as much Carbon Dioxide, which in turn, will continue to warm the planet, altering the weather, terrain and life as we know along with it.

Climate change already has noticeable effects: glaciers are shrinking, seasons are shifting, higher sea levels and dramatic weather changes. It is this continuously warming and changing weather pattern that I pulled from to create the future that Jay and Danielle visit in the future. Can we alter the course of climate change? If we take control of our actions now, then perhaps we can avoid the fate of the humankind in Shadows of December…the decisions we make now will write the history of the future.

More details about Climate Change and Rising Temperatures:

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M.A. Senft 

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