What's Happening in Texas? Global warming, that is happening.
The US state of Texas is experiencing its coldest temperatures in more than 30 years and a winter surge that has caused damage similar to a Category 5 hurricane . Texas is an area characterized by high temperatures, almost desert heat and consequently an ecosystem that responds to these climatic conditions. Cities that for this time of year had average temperatures of 15 °C are facing temperatures between -10 °C and -16 °C , affecting not only the people who live in this state and neighboring places, but also all the species of animals and plants that are not adapted to these extreme temperatures and that are experiencing firsthand the effects of the climate crisis .[caption id="attachment_56140" align="aligncenter" width="713"] These situations directly related to climate change also put on the radar an increasing number of severe events around the world, including hurricanes, heat and cold waves, and floods.[/caption]
Millions of people are struggling to cope with this phenomenon, known as polar air or polar vortex , and the low temperatures and lack of energy that have occurred in this state and others such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi and Oregon. , in other nearby places such as northern and central Mexico that depend on gas supplies from Texas and even in other parts of the world such as Greece and Turkey.[caption id="attachment_56144" align="alignleft" width="300"] More than 150 million people are currently alerted for events such as winter storms and ice storms, as well as frost and extreme temperatures.[/caption]
Just like people who are not used to these low temperatures, the animals and different ecosystems in the area are also directly affected.
The animals, the most affected.[caption id="attachment_56146" align="alignleft" width="300"] “In these extremely cold conditions, turtles can experience hypothermia as their body temperatures can drop to such a degree that their heart rate slows and their flippers become paralyzed, leaving them vulnerable to predators, boats and even drowning.”[/caption]
Animals are just some of the main ones affected in these extreme weather conditions. Nearly 4,000 sea turtles rescued by volunteers had gone into a coma from the extreme cold.
Likewise, many animals that were in refuges or sanctuaries, as is the case of hundreds of birds, lemurs, chimpanzees and monkeys that died in San Antonio, or wild animals such as foxes and from different farms such as cows, pigs and chickens.
Unfortunately, this panorama is not only experienced by Texas. The poles suffer never before seen highs in the average temperature , which affects the entire ecosystem, the forests, snow-capped mountains and oceans struggle every day to adapt to extreme conditions and it has become part of our daily life to read headlines in which we see hundreds of numbers of species affected by climate change.
What are these extremely cold conditions due to?
These extremely cold and snowy conditions are due to the polar vortex , which has brought arctic cold to places where average temperatures do not drop below 18 °C . And while the polar vortex is a naturally occurring phenomenon, climate change could be directly related to the fact that these extreme frosts now occur in places that have not occurred before.
The cold that occurred in Texas, in other States and even in other countries, which under normal conditions have temperatures of up to 30 °C, reached temperatures lower than those registered in naturally cold places such as Greenland, Alaska, Norway and Sweden, where even Higher than normal temperatures have been recorded.
The polar vortex is extremely cold air that spins like a top on top of the planet , but sometimes disturbances cause the cold to escape its arctic home in a southerly direction. The problem is that lately this phenomenon is occurring more frequently , before it happened every two or three years and now it is estimated to happen annually.[caption id="attachment_56150" align="aligncenter" width="352"] Explanation of the polar vortex.[/caption]
Normally this vortex is released at the end of winter. Sometimes it is divided into pieces, and it is when heavy snowfalls occur in some northern countries, and in other cases it is moved to a different place, which means intense cold in other areas, on this occasion both phenomena occurred.
“There was a vortex split in early January and another in mid-January. Then, in late January, there was the displacement that caused cold air to spill over Europe and much of the United States” in: Polar Vortex: What is it and why has it frozen Texas?
What worries some scientists the most is that there is evidence that climate change may weaken the polar vortex, allowing more chance for frigid Arctic air to filter more strongly to the south.
The problem is that these types of extreme natural phenomena have become part of our daily lives and we have become accustomed to heavy rainstorms in our city, to hearing on the news about huge hurricanes that devastate entire communities, to imminent droughts. that destroy crops, floods, plagues and diseases that we did not see before, but to which, unfortunately, we have become accustomed.
It is time to realize that climate change knows no borders and that it affects us all to different degrees. The problem is that the populations that suffer the most are the ones that have the least resources and possibilities to deal with them. Just like today in Texas, people like you are suffering the ravages of a cold snap, tomorrow we will not know who it will be and it is in our hands to act to guarantee the world and the most vulnerable populations a dignified and balanced planet.
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