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Attacked by the Summer Heatwave: A Warning from the Earth

기사승인 [351호] 2021.09.06  

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The dancing ceremony of Kiribati’s Olympian Katoatau, despite failing his attempt at the Tokyo Olympics, received spotlight as the story behind the ceremony was revealed. The world’s attention was drawn towards Kiribati’s intention to raise awareness on the existential threat of his country’s rising sea levels. During the pandemic, the whole world has been going through drastic changes in weather as global warming continues to worsen. For Korea, the comparatively short rainy season of this year’s summer has passed, leaving a severe heat wave hitting the Korean Peninsula. In August, some parts of the western inland region of Korea saw daytime highs rise above 38 degrees Celsius, which is higher than the normal body temperature. The cause of this heat wave in Korea is a global phenomenon. Though this year’s heat wave was not as dangerously hot as the summer of 2018, the annual return of the heat wave seems like a message from Earth. Specifically, the “heat dome” phenomenon has often been headlined this summer. This phenomenon occurs when the atmosphere traps hot ocean air and prevents it from escaping the surface, making temperatures rise. The heat wave in the western parts of the metropolitan area, such as Seoul, was even worse, as they were affected by typhoons heading to China along with the urban heat island effect. Experts at home and abroad point out that climate change has been triggered by greenhouse gases in various parts of the world. According to a report approved by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if humans maintain current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, the world would reach or even exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming within just the next two decades. Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is expected to cause more weather extremes, intensifying the water cycle and melting frozen parts of the world and vice versa, until carbon dioxide emissions are reduced to zero. Frequent natural disasters are proof that climate change is getting worse. Be it large regions or small islands, it is quite clear that any part of the world is bound to be affected by climate change. With governments starting to take action by transfering to renewable energy sources, there is also a dire need for grassroots to take part in order to keep these changes sustainable. Humans may be the reason for environmental pollution, but ironically, can also be the solution. 

Son Hyeonyu hyeonyuson@hanyang.ac.kr

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