Did you know that we as Americans use twice the amount of water that we think, and believe it or not most of the water wasted is in our toilets and washing machines? The massive increase in climate change is blamed for the increase of salt content in the groundwater and inconsistent rainfall. This problem may lead to a loss in crops and in drinking water. Obviously this is a serious enough of an issue for the president of the United States to address.
Most Americans assume that water is unlimited and reliable, however research has shown us that with climate change, water will alter in a negative way. It doesn’t help that 28 percent of water in the average household is used while flushing the toilet. A standard toilet uses 3.5 gallons of water per flush. Something that would help this issue would be to require low flushing toilets that use less than half of the amount of a regular toilet in all newly built homes.
The next greatest water saver after installing a water efficient toilet would be a front loading washing machine. A top loading washing machine uses approximately 34 gallons per load next to the 15 gallons that the front loading washers use. Water expert Peter Gleick of the pacific institute in California estimated that humans require 13 gallons of clean water a day to meet basic needs while in 2005 the average american was estimated 98 gallons of water, you could imagine that number has grown exponentially in the past 11 years.
However the personal use of water isn’t the only key factor of the wasted water in the U.S.. Did you know that it takes 299 gallons to make a pound of rice, 157 gallons is required for a pound of sugar, and a whopping 2,264 gallons of water to make a pound of coffee grains. Imagine how many times you let coffee sit in the pot too long and end up dumping half of it out. People just don’t realize how important of a role fresh water plays in the continuation of the human race. “Water is a really essential but neglected resource”, says Attari, “We need to start paying more attention to water just in general.”
I also want to discuss the largest waves ever recorded among floating packs of Arctic ice, discovered by a Norwegian research vessel. “These rollers could reroute shipping, damage oil platforms and threaten coastal communities with erosion.” Less ice means more open water to generate waves leading to a repetitive cycle the could doom the ice caps. Historically, the extensive ice cover didn’t allow large gaps of water that storms need to create such rollers. Due to climate change, we have been experiences milder winters, warmer temperatures in the ocean, and bigger storms. Clarence Collins of the NRL in Mississippi doesn’t expect the standing record of these waves to last for long. As the ice-breaking feedback loop keeps recurring in years to come the waves will gradually become larger, also creating more intense storms. This cycle will more than likely shrink and destroy the ice cap.
While we are on the subject of ice loss, an enormous study by 16 authors have calculated just how much ice the Greenland ice sheet has lost since the 1900’s. To go with a massive study a massive number which is, an astonishing 9,103 gigatons. The study was led by Kristian K. Kjeldsen of the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen. The result is not only an understanding of Greenland's massive, contribution to sea level rise, but also disturbing evidence that its loss of mass is now accelerating.
The fact that Greenland was losing mass throughout the entirety of the 20th century may seem surprising. But the paper suggests that we are coming out of the Little Ice Age, a cooler period, and so glacier retreat was more or less kicked off around 1900 and then accelerated as major human-caused global warming kicked in. Since 1900 the research finds, Greenland's mass loss has been coming consistently from a few regions: the northwest and southeast of the ice sheet, at Jakobshavn glacier in the southwest, Greenland's single fastest-moving glacier. It is currently losing 25 to 35 gigatons of ice annually.
The latter process can be quite dramatic capable of triggering huge earthquakes while gigaton-sized icebergs separate, roll in the water, and crash into glaciers behind them.The new research also suggests that Greenland played a major role in the global sea level budget through the last century and it also accounts for much of the sea level rise that the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had previously not accounted to Greenland. If the estimate of 9,103 gigatons of ice loss in the last 110 years is correct, then Greenland would have contributed about 2.5 centimeters, close to an inch of sea level rise over the period. “That may not sound like much, but it's enough water to submerge the entire U.S. interstate highway system 98 foot deep 63 times”, says Jason Box, a professor with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.
Since the end of the study period in 2010, mass loss has only continued, with a particularly stark loss in the year 2012 but “fortunately for us, it doesn’t appear that there has been another doubling of the rate of mass loss since 2010”, says Box. The key question for the future of Greenland's ice is how high temperatures will go and how long they will stay there. The world's recent World Climate Summit goal of keeping warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, may just be enough to prevent a scenario where a total melt occurs over time, if achieved.
"The ice sheets are doomed in plus-3-Celsius world," says Box.
If we haven't stopped or slowed down the speed at which Global Warming has been changing our earth, who knows how many disaster cases you will have on your hands.