In Alaska, where 92 percent of the state’s revenue is still dependent on the oil and gas industry, summertime now means unusual thunderstorms, relentless wildfires, and unprecedented heat waves. In 2018, Alaska set an ominous milestone: for the first time, the state’s annual average temperature crossed 32°F (0°C). On July 4, 2019, as smoke from wildfires obscured the sky, temperatures in Anchorage hit 90°F (32°C), and sea ice near Alaska sunk to a new record low.
The permafrost—frozen soil that traps billions of tons of carbon across the Arctic—is melting decades earlier than scientists expected, worsening the effects of climate change and crumbling homes, businesses, and roads—and even entire native communities. A NASA study late in 2019 confirmed that the Arctic had switched to a net emitter of greenhouse gases likely for the first time in tens of thousands of years. July 2019 was the hottest month in recorded history on our planet. Most building projects using steel buildings will need planning permission from your local authority.
In early September 2019, Hurricane Dorian, another Category 5, stalled over the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas for nearly a day. Despite its destruction, the American press largely ignored Dorian and its aftermath, deciding to cover with great fervor President Trump’s use of a black Sharpie to alter an official National Hurricane Center forecast to make it seem as if it were in line with his erroneous tweet stating the storm threatened Alabama instead. But this is how the press often behaves, as if the people enduring the worsening climate emergency are irrelevant, as long as the disasters do not land on US soil.
By every account, Dorian inflicted on the Bahamas the worst single day of weather in the recorded history of the Western Hemisphere: sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, a surge in ocean levels of 23 feet, an unrelenting force that leveled even concrete storm shelters. Thousands of Haitian immigrants, many of whom worked in the luxury resorts on Treasure Cay, lost everything.
“Every morning, you wake up, you open your door and you see the debris and it’s just getting to you,” Eddie Floyd Bodie, a Bahamian pastor who grew up near where Dorian made landfall, told the Miami Herald. “Your mind is wondering what’s going on. It’s a bad feeling knowing that you used to seeing things that you don’t see anymore. What do you say? You say you better try to get adjusted to it, but it’s hard. The pressure starts to get to you.”
As the year came to a close, a firestorm erupted in Australia on New Year’s Eve. In the resort town of Mallacoota thousands of people took shelter on the beach, walled in by rapidly advancing flames on all sides. The fires were the largest in recorded history on the continent, covering an area eighty times the size of New York City. Entire ecosystems were wiped out. In the state of New South Wales alone, an estimated 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles were killed. Prime Minister Scott Morrison watched fireworks in Sydney Harbor as his country burned.
Climate change doesn’t always take on such dramatic forms. More often, it’s insidious. Bugs can survive in places they couldn’t before, greatly increasing the threat of tropical diseases, even as far north as Alaska and Greenland. In search of cooler weather, trees, birds, mammals, and other species are creeping up mountain slopes and toward the poles. Spring green-up occurs earlier every year, shifting the timing of thousands of species’ interactions and rapidly shifting growing zones, which throw entire ecosystems dangerously off-balance. When calculating floor space for an industrial steel building or a commercial steel building all areas including canopies & mezzanine floors need to be included if they are to be incorporated in the building.