Over the past decade the United States birth rate has been on a steady decline compared to other countries. Many are wondering if this is due to the fact that we are seeing the results from climate change. Over the past few years we have seen climate change impact our world in many ways, from more extreme natural disasters to the Larcen C Ice shelf falling into the ocean causing the ocean to rise.
The world has consistently been seeing its temperature rise throughout the years:
Last year was the third hottest on record in the United States, with the average temperature being 54.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Which is 2.6 F above average temperature .
Only 2012 & 2016 were warmer than 2017 was, according a new report from NOAA. The five hottest years on record in the country have been in the last decade, based on 123 years of record-keeping.
The record heat means that every year since 1997 has been warmer than average in the United States. In 2017, every state had a warmer-than-average year, and 32 states recorded one of their 10 hottest years on record, according to NOAA.
Hurricane season intensify:
In 2017 the United States, its territory’s and friends at the southern border suffered from not one but three powerful hurricanes that brought flooding and destruction. Hurricane Harvey brought unbelievable floods to Houston. Irma, which was one of the two strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the northern Atlantic, wreaked havoc on Florida and many Caribbean islands. Then we had Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Many experts say they are confident that a warmer world will create stronger storms and is already doing so. Since 1981 the highest wind speed of the most powerful hurricanes has risen, according to research from The Florida State University.
That’s because higher ocean heat provides more energy for storms, fueling their power and intensity. Hurricane Patricia, in 2015, set the record at the time for top wind speed—215 miles per hour—in the north Atlantic. The next year Winston shattered records as the most intense cyclone in the Southern Hemisphere.
Scientists do agree climate change means higher storm surges are hitting coastlines. This would happen even if hurricanes do not become stronger. If sea level is a half-meter higher, then a storm surge will be a half-meter higher than it would have been otherwise.
Rising ocean waters:
Many people are interested in climate change and how a changing climate will affect the ocean. With the majority of Americans living in coastal states, rising water levels can have potentially large impacts. Scientists have determined that global sea level has been steadily rising since 1900 at a rate of at least 0.04 to 0.1 inches per year.
In fact, since 1992 new methods of using satellite imagery using the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite indicate a rate of rise of 3 millimeters per year.
The Fourth Assessment Report from the IPCC states that:
“There is strong evidence that global sea level gradually rose in the 20th century and is currently rising at an increased rate, after a period of little change between AD 0 and AD 1900. Sea level is projected to rise at an even greater rate in this century.”
Sea level can rise by two different mechanisms with respect to climate change. The first is the expansion of the sea water as the oceans warm due to an increasing global temperature.
The second mechanism is the melting of ice over land, which then adds water to the ocean. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report predicts that total global-average sea level rise from 1990 – 2100 will be 7 – 15 inches for low emission scenarios and 10 – 23 inches for high emission scenarios.
The entire Larsen Ice shelf, which is the fourth largest in Antarctica, covers nearly 20,000 square miles according to reporting at ABC science.
While the ice on the land upstream of the shelf is enough to raise sea level by 10cm eventually. By itself this is no major threat to the world’s coastlines, but it reveals the path that other, even larger areas are likely to take in the future.
Perhaps a quotation from a seminal work on Antarctic ice sheets best sums up the situation. In a 1978 paper, John Mercer from the Institute of Polar studies concluded:
One of the warning signs that a dangerous warming trend is under way in Antarctica will be the breakup of ice shelves on both coasts of the Antarctic Peninsula, starting with the northernmost and extending gradually southward. These ice shelves should be regularly monitored by Landsat imagery.
Many people in the younger generation of millennial have taken weather change and its wrath into mind now when the conversation of having kids come into play. They are worried about the world they are bringing their spawns into, if it will be safe for them once their parent is gone. For the first time we are seeing a generation think about the future instead of just the now. We are seeing this theough data that has been collected by the National Center of Health Statistics and also the CDC.
In a study issued by the National Center for Health Statistics, researchers report that birthrates declined to record lows in all groups under age 30. Among women ages 20 to 24, the decline was 4 percent, for women 25 to 29 the rate fell 2 percent.
The current fertility rate puts the United States population below replacement level, but that does not mean the population is declining.
The decrease in the birthrate among teenagers — 9 percent from 2015 to 2016 — continues a long-term decline: 67 percent since 1991.
A country’s birthrate is among the most important measures of demographic health. The number needs to be within a certain range, called the “replacement level,” to keep a population stable so that it neither grows nor shrinks.
If too low, there’s a danger that we wouldn’t be able to replace the aging workforce and have enough tax revenue to keep the economy stable.
Some countries like France and Japan that have low birthrates have had to put pro-family policies into place to try to encourage couples to have babies.
The flip side of this can also still be a problem. If birthrates that are too high can strain resources such as clean water, food, shelter and social services, problems faced by India, where the fertility rate has fallen over the past few decades but still remains high.
The question comes down to why exactly the younger generations aren’t reproducing. Many experts say that they’re justing waiting later in life to reproduce, they just don’t feel economically stable, or from the wild changes in the worlds climate. The only way to find out the reasoning behind this would be to put out a survey across high schools and colleges to get an accurate answer from the demographic in question.
Featured photo via Pixelbay