Earth's 'vital signs' are worsening due to climate change, scientists warn

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Jul 29, 2021, 01:09 PM IST

(Representative Image) Photograph:(AFP)

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Earth's vital signs are currently worsening owing to factors linked to climate change. What are these vital signs? And what does this mean for the planet's future. Find out inside

Earth's "vital signs" that point to the health of the planet are currently deteriorating at an alarming rate, a group of scientists announced on Wednesday. 

Based on this, the researchers ascertained that severe effects of climate change would be felt soon. 

On Wednesday, researchers that constitute a group of over 14,000 professionals signed an international declaration calling recent events a "climate emergency" and added that governments across the globe had failed to acknowledge the crisis adequately.

The scientists also made a similar assessment in 2019, when they noted an "unprecedented surge" in climate-related disasters. An array of conditions were noted including record-breaking heatwaves, floods in South America and Southeast Asia, wildfires in Australia and the United states along with cyclones in Africa and South Asia.

The "vital signs" were measures from a key metric system which took into account greenhouse gas emissions, thickness of glaciers, sea-ice extent, and deforestation. The scientists found that 18 of these parameters hit record highs or lows.

For instance, a dip in pollution was noted during the pandemic, with which it was also linked. But as countries resumed industrial activity, the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and methane hit an all-time high in 2021.

In Greenland and Antarctica, all-time low levels of ice mass were noted by scientists. They also found that glaciers are currently melting 31 per cent faster than they did 15 years ago.

Ocean heat and global sea levels have set new records since 2019. In 2020, the annual loss rate of the Amazon rainforest situated in Brazil hit a 12-year high.

The study was undertaken by the University of Exeter's Global Systems Institute. Researchers said there exists "mounting evidence" of humanity having crossed a number of climate tipping points which primarily include the melting of ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica. 

Along with these events, the scientists also noted how climate change may now be irreversible on a scale of centuries, regardless of whether humans are able to cut down harmful emissions.