2017 is already shaping up to be a big year for the weird and wacky climate. With the first snow in nearly a century blanketing parts of Spain, with its subsequent melting leading to mass flooding. The Australian heatwave in February caused the deaths of hundreds of already-vulnerable Flying Foxes as well as several bushfires and severe draws on both state and national power. Some parts of Australia faced recorded temperatures of over 47 degrees Celsius. According to the Australian Climate Council, heatwaves will be hotter and occur more frequently in the future.
In New Zealand, where strandings are comparatively common, one of the largest mass beachings of whales ever recorded occurred. There is proof that cetaceans (whales, dolphins) have a majority of their brain devoted to empathy. Bulk strandings such as this can be elucidated as the animals refusing to abandon each other, even if it means their doom.
Last year it was revealed that even many species of bee would be added to the endangered list.
Do all of these events have something in common? Is this a result of climate change?
The authors of a mathematical equation known as the “Anthropocene equation” wrote that for the past 4.5bn years astronomical and geophysical factors have been the governing stimuli on the Earth system. The paper claims humans are driving the effects of climate change “170 times” faster than any natural force.
With very little ‘fast’ action from any government to counteract the effects, it’s likely this is going to be a very challenging year for the climate.