Perhaps most importantly, the endangered ice sheets are precursors. Humans have built societies around specific and relatively narrow temperature ranges that determine the innumerable features of our habitat. It is difficult enough to adapt to natural variability without imposing rapid changes, some predictable and others surprising, in the climatic conditions of humanity.
Another warning is the increasingly critical state of the Great Barrier Reef. Despite all the warming that has occurred on dry land, the oceans have absorbed far more excess energy than greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans trapped on Earth. Overheating of the oceans and increasing acidification are clear signs of the increasing impact of carbon dioxide. High ocean temperatures have resulted in the death of two corals in 2016 and 2017. According to a new study published April 3 in Nature, scientists have discovered that the reef is not repopulating as one might have hoped. Following the 2016-17 disaster, new corals are down 89%. The reef will never be the same again – and it needs recovery time to restore a minimum of health. Yet experts expect whitening episodes to occur more and more often.
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