It was during an interview, in the GD held on the boons and bans of technology, did I hear a candidate say technology has enabled us to communicate with people being anywhere at any time, throwing examples: video calls have brought people closer and emails have made business faster.
In no time did it occur to me that video call hasn’t solved any relationship problems, and in business, email has only tightened our work deadlines. Yes, if you can share things faster, your bosses can assign you tasks faster, too.
The same logic goes with any technology we bring in. For example, we feel hot and we buy an AC, but where does that heat go? Just outside our house.
And the atmospheric temperature rises, even more, necessitating us to buy a bigger AC, and the cycle repeats, each time getting more chaotic.
This happens until we invent something newer and greater, which, unfortunately, will only make things go differently chaotic. One such phenomenon is what this article is all about.
Heat bringing cold
Anyone who has heard of the term global warming knows it is about Earth getting hotter. But a recent study discovered that it can make some places colder, and this concept is about answering why the melting of Arctic ice due to global warming can cause parts of America and Europe to become strangely colder.
Everything going everywhere
We all just think, though the sea has waves, it is calm, stable, and salty in its whole. But a scientific observation into the seawater will show that there are gradual motions of water happening in the sea and the seawater is not equally salty at every length and depth of the ocean.
There is something called ocean current, which is the movement of the seawater that carries heat and salt from one place and releases them in other parts of the sea which can even belong to a different ocean.
This means, for a particular interval of time, say 1000 years, the water of every ocean is going everywhere, shifting salts, spreading minerals, releasing temperatures, along depths and lengths, like cards being shuffled at each game.
To keep things fine
Directly and indirectly, this movement of seawater is the reason for temperature stability in many parts of Earth, availability of nutrient-rich water in certain regions of the sea, regulated wind flows across oceans and landmasses—one of the mechanisms that contribute to the equilibrium of our ecosystem.
There are many ocean currents serving this purpose, and researchers found that the melting of Arctic ice is affecting a particular ocean current, AMOC, Atlantic meridional overturning circulation current.
Some more science
This current carries warm water from the tropics, middle of Earth, and moves towards the northern Atlantic Ocean, crossing the coastal boundary of America and Europe, releasing its temperature to those lands, which is why some parts of Europe and North America experience a pleasant climate.
As the current becomes colder, its density increases, which brings the water down the sea and causes it to travel along the ocean floor, transporting all its salts and minerals to a different ocean, enriching the marine life of that region. The issue here is the collapse of this AMOC current.
The movement of an ocean current is largely driven by temperature and density.
Global warming causes ice to melt, and melting of Arctic ice can add freshwater to this current, hence making it less salty and so, less dense, disabling this movement.
Scientists, owing to this process, anticipate parts of North America and Europe to experience dramatic cooling. Now, this attracts attention as the latest episode of such cooling in some parts of America like Texas happened in February 2021.
When Texas went dark
The temperature went down to –18° C, and the people of Texas were experiencing a total shutdown of electricity, which caused nearly 44 lakhs of people to spend a whole night without power and 5 lakhs people to remain that way for some more days.
With water pipes broken, houses flooded, they were unable to run their household and business, causing food shortages and many other daily inconveniences.
The point is, the city’s infrastructure couldn’t sustain such a temperature drop, ceasing heat-operated power plants and machinery from functioning. Also, by the end of that month, over 100 people died due to hypothermia and other health issues.
Going back to AMOC, along with that temperature drop, scientists warn, there can be disturbances in wind stability, resulting in hurricanes and rise in sea levels of certain places.
Niklas Boers, the lead author of that study, says, “It’s one of those things that shouldn’t happen. We should try all that we can to reduce greenhouse gases emission. It’s a system we shouldn’t mess with”.
The haunting horizon
This may be about the cold that we don’t want on Earth. However, only hot is taking a constant rise. Speaking of highest and lowest temperatures, there are record highs and record lows happening, but the ratio of the occurrences of record high to those of the record low is 2:1, which means you can see the highest temperature rise two times a year while the highest temperature drops only once a year. Experts say this ratio will be 20:1 in 2050, and 50:1 in 2100.
“It means things have gotten really out of control“, says Harold Wanless, professor of geography and urban sustainability at the University of Miami.
In any realm, power plays a major role in determining its growth and value, which is extraordinarily true in preserving our environment.
The approach of “Be the change you want to bring in the world” contextually doesn’t suffice in the system of environment, as the environment as an entity is physically too large for an individual to bring a substantial change in it unless he/she is in the place of taking decisions and making policies, only which can drive the masses across the globe to behave the way that conforms to the well-being of planet Earth.