27/02/2018

The Art Of Climate Change Gallery 3: Who Is At Risk?

Environmental Graphiti

Environmental Graphiti® is a venture that uses art to dramatize the critical science of climate change in an effort to expand public awareness of this urgent issue.
ART makes the science more accessible. Science makes the art more meaningful. Together they tell the story of climate change in a unique and powerful way.
The art in this series is based on the compelling data that describes the various factors that have contributed to climate change over the last two hundred years. Click on image title to see graphic data source.

Gallery 3: Who Is At Risk?

1 Out Of 4
According to the Nature Conservancy, one fourth of the Earth's species could be headed for extinction by 2050 due to climate change. The "x's" in the "tic tac toe" game represent these species at risk of being crossed off the planet. Climate change is no game. LARGE IMAGE

Floods
The risk of flooding of coastal areas across the world continues to  increase along with the ever-rising levels of our oceans. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report identifies the regions of South, Southeast, and East Asia, Africa and small islands as most vulnerable, but coastal communities across the world are also impacted. A report published by Climate Central (10-25-17), ranking the 25 US cities with populations most vulnerable to climate change driven flooding, lists New York City with the largest vulnerable population, followed by 9 Florida cities including: Hialeah, Miami, and Ft Lauderdale. LARGE IMAGE

Countries That Contribute Least Are Most Vulnerable
No country is immune from climate change impact, but researchers have concluded that in almost all cases, the countries contributing least in greenhouse gas emissions will be most immediately and urgently affected. These are often poor, undeveloped nations with limited resources to respond to the critical challenges of climate change. (The red dot in the digital painting represents the countries (notably Saudi Arabia) where high emissions correlate with high impact. For the rest of the world, the mismatch is extreme, and fundamentally unfair). LARGE IMAGE

Billion-Dollar Natural Disaster Event Frequency In US
The US has sustained 212 weather and climate disasters since 1980, but the years with the most frequent events have all occurred since 2011.  During the 18-year period 1980-1998, 70 billion-dollar events occurred, costing a total of $395.2 billion dollars and the loss of 4,287 lives.  During the somewhat shorter 17.5-year period 1999-July 2017, 142 billion-dollar events occurred, costing a total of $842.3 billion dollars and the loss of 5,393 lives. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2017).  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/ It is important to note that the above 2017 figures do not cover the 2017 hurricane season which includes the catastrophic hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. According to the New York Times (October 12, 2017), with a month and a half to go until season end, nearly 5 times the full season average of  major hurricane days were experienced in 2017. NOAA has since reported (1-08-18) that extreme weather events caused $306 billion of damage to the US in 2017, the most expensive year on record. 16 $1 billion plus natural disasters occurred in 2017, compared to 3 (inflation adjusted) in 1980.  LARGE IMAGE

Vector-Borne Diseases
Vector borne diseases (i.e., those spread by insects such as fleas, ticks and mosquitoes) are influenced by climate.  Certain diseases are particularly sensitive to climactic conditions, such as Dengue Fever, which has shown a 30-fold increase over the last 50 years, and virus behind the latest epidemic, Zika. LARGE IMAGE

Climate Change Impact On Poverty
“Climate change threatens the object of sustainably eradicating poverty. Poor people and poor countries are exposed and vulnerable to all types of climate-related shocks- natural disasters that destroy assets and livelihoods; waterborne diseases and pests that become more prevalent during heat waves, floods, or droughts; crop failure from reduced rainfall; and spikes in food prices that follow extreme weather events…. “  Absent rapid, well-informed policies and programs, “…climate change could result in an additional 100 million people living in extreme poverty by 2030.”  LARGE IMAGE

Trends In Strength Of Hurricanes Impacting US
Climate change increases the impact, strength and intensity of hurricanes:  warmer oceans increase hurricane strength and create more evaporation, which turns to vapor and results in heavier rains; rising sea levels enhance the effect of storm surges causing greater flooding; changes in Gulf Stream patterns are also believed to cause stalling of storms over land with unprecedented levels of rain. LARGE IMAGE

Shells Dissolve In Acidified Ocean Water
Ocean acidity has increased by 30% over the last 250 years due to absorption of emitted CO2.  Marine species such as coral, mollusks, shellfish and plankton are put at risk by the increasing acidification and warming of their habitat. LARGE IMAGE

Coral Reefs At Risk
A combination of local stressors (e.g., overfishing) and global factors, such as ocean acidification, heat and weather cycles, threaten about 75% of coral reefs world-wide. It is projected that by mid-century, 95% of  coral reefs will be threatened by heat and bleaching. Coral reefs are a crucial part of the ocean's ecosystem, providing food and shelter to a quarter of all marine life. An estimated 500 million to one billion people rely on the fish supported by coral reefs.  LARGE IMAGE

Conflict
Governments across the world are beginning to focus on the connection between climate change and conflict. Studies suggest that competition over depleting natural resources and socio-economic impacts from intensified natural disasters, such as floods or droughts, can make fragile states more vulnerable to conflict. The US Department of Defense stated in a July 29, 2015 report to Congress, “Global climate change will aggravate problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability in a number of countries.” LARGE IMAGE

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