We’ve all encountered some of the many ways and reasons people deny climate change: But this was the coldest winter on record! Lots of scientists don’t believe in it! The whole thing is a liberal hoax! Leave it to Jesus! How does a few degrees even matter? Fortunately NASA is here to help us address that last question, in a video that simply and quickly explains the consequences of global warming.
The animated video opens with the worrisome fact that the temperature of the Earth has risen by one degree Fahrenheit in the last century. One measly degree might not seem like a lot, but the narrator tells us to look at it like a fever: in the human body, a one-degree rise in temperature is enough to make us feel pretty terrible. A five-degree rise can send us to the hospital. Much higher than that, and things start to get life-threatening. Simply put, “our Earth has a fever.”
Scientists predict that the global temperature will rise by three to 10 degrees during this century. As the video explains, this estimate is due to a number of factors:
- Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap heat and raise the temperature.
- These higher temps lower the amount of ice and snow we have.
- As ice and snow melt, they expose darker areas of land and water. These areas absorb more light and produce more heat. The narrator compares this phenomenon to wearing black at the beach— the dark color absorbs more sunlight than lighter hues, producing more heat, and making us feel hotter. No fun at the beach, and no fun for the Earth.
Other “symptoms” of Earth’s rising temperatures include “shrinking glaciers, shifting plant and animal ranges, sea level rise, more intense heat waves, stronger hurricanes.” YIKES. As the video suggests, “it’s time to seek attention right away.”
This video is part of NASA’s Earth Minute series, a series of quick, informal videos created for the purpose of educating us on our own planet. Check them all out here.