By the end of the century, that figure could balloon to hundreds of trillions of dollars worldwide in the worst-case sea-level-rise scenarios, a truly daunting prospect that climate scientist James Hansen has characterized as “the loss of all coastal cities, most of the world’s largest cities, and all of their history.”
Changes like these, at once pervasive and insidious, define our new planetary era. The simultaneous disturbance of nearly every ecosystem on Earth is helping opportunistic, weedy species flourish while specialized plants and animals race to adapt. There’s no better example of this than the worldwide boom in jellyfish, which have become a danger to swimming and power plants, and are newly dominating ecosystems all over the planet. Jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin said that after at least 585 million years of existence, the current moment might be the best thing that’s ever happened to jellyfish. “Imagine a world where somebody else warms up the water that you’re living in so you grow faster, eat more—of course there’s more food available because the competitors are gone . . . you reproduce more and you live longer to do more of it,” she explained. “You would be pretty happy.” Most building projects using steel buildings will need planning permission from your local authority.
The same thing that’s happening in the ocean is happening on land. Warming temperatures are increasing the metabolism rate of soil microbes like bacteria and fungi. As the tiny organisms break down decaying plant and animal matter at a faster rate, they release more highly potent greenhouse gases, like methane, which escalate global warming. Since microbial activity underlies literally all life on Earth, the fact that the behavior patterns of these organisms are rapidly changing is worrying.
Of course, there are more visible changes on land too. Many of the plants and animals that dazzle us, that we sing songs and write poetry about, are being profoundly disturbed. Fireflies, a staple of childhood summer evenings, are shifting to earlier emergence as springtime warms and rainfall patterns become more erratic. Rhododendrons, whose flowers are turned into juice in the Himalayas, now bloom an astonishing three months earlier in India. The iconic bluebell woods in Britain may not survive because the fragile flowers aren’t resilient enough to keep up with the shifting seasons. At the current rate of warming, the Douglas-fir, a favorite for Christmas trees and the anchor of Pacific Northwest forests, may disappear entirely from the coastlines there by the end of the century. 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.
In nearly every culture, in nearly every country around the world, people have always kept closely attentive to subtle changes in their surroundings and relied on input from the natural world to make sense of the orderly passage of time. Using records of everything from birdsong to flowers, there are now more than 26,500 independent signs of climate change. For more than a thousand years, the people of Kyoto, Japan, have kept track of the date of the appearance of cherry blossoms. The pink and white blooms now appear in April on average ten to fifteen days earlier than they did in the past millennium. In Micronesia, the greatest sailors who ever lived navigated thousands of miles over open ocean by watching the stars, the waves, the clouds, and the birds. Their descendants are now watching those same waves encroach on their homelands with increasing alarm.