Climate change in western Antarctica and the importance of alternative energy technologies

The effects of climate change and a rising global sea level were made abundantly clear to New York City residents when entire neighborhoods and subway tunnels were flooded as Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast in October.

Now, a new report sheds even more light on this topic. According to an article in Nature Geoscience, scientists conducting research in western Antarctica for more than five decades have concluded that temperatures have risen by double the previously estimated amount.

Since 1958, temperatures in the region have gone up by 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit, leading researchers to classify it as one of the fastest-warming parts of the world. If this trend continues, massive ice formations are likely to melt and lead to a significant rise in the global sea level.

"The surprises keep coming," Andrew J. Monaghan, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado and participant in the study, told The New York Times. "When you see this type of warming, I think it's alarming."

The Times article points out that the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet could raise sea level around the world by 10 feet or more over a few hundred years. While this may seem like a small amount over a long time period, the gradual effects on coastal areas, particularly during hurricanes and other natural disasters, as well as sea life and the global environment, will be significant – potentially catastrophic.

That is why it is critical that we invest in alternative energy technologies that will stem the tide of climate change and the subsequent damage it will yield. Everything from improved methods of bonding battery terminals to solar module soldering techniques will help us become more efficient at producing, storing and utilizing clean energy.

Doing so will reduce carbon emissions and hopefully begin to reverse decades of harm done to the Earth's environment.

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