Content Gazette - September 2019 - 2

perils of global warming. Above all,
about his science and the well-being of
it is necessary for governments worldfuture generations.
wide to adopt policies and directives
It is predicted that, absent any serious
aimed at curbing the warming effects.
action, global temperatures will conCountries need to work side by side to
tinue to rise. This translates into more
create a meaningheat waves, stronful impact. It does
ger hurricanes, and
We are leaving to our
not help for some
more droughts. For
future generations the
countries to move in
example, the last five
arduous task of fighting
the right direction,
years have been dewh ile other counclared to be the hotdisasters that we
tries persist on the
test years on record
have failed miserably
current path. After
globa l ly. T he se a
at tackling.
all, we all share the
level is also expected
same planet Ear th
to rise by up to 77 cm
and the same atmosphere. The 2015
by the end of this century due to meltParis Agreement was a consensual
ing ice and glaciers [5]. Many regions
step in this direction. Its purpose is
and poorer populations will be affected.
to limit the temperature rise in this
Hundreds of small islands in the Pacific
century well below 2° to avoid serious
and Indian Oceans are threatened to
ramifications.
disappear. Among them, the Marshall
Still, even with our best efforts at
Islands in the Pacific Ocean (with more
both the technological and political
than 1,000 islands and 53,000 inhabitlevels, the state of affairs is such that
ants) and the Maldives in the Indian
scientists estimate that the effects of
Ocean (also with more than 1,000 isglobal warming will take decades and
lands and 425,000 inhabitants) face an
perhaps centuries to weather off [3]. A
existential threat [6]. The Maldives is,
recent report by the U.N.'s Commiton average, 1.5 m above sea level, while
tee on Climate Change estimates that
the Marshall Islands are on average
we have a window of 12 years to keep
2.1 m above sea level.
global warming below 1.5 °C before
There are steps that can be taken to
the damage becomes more permanent.
ameliorate the warming trend, such as
Generations to come will have to deal
moving toward renewable energy sources
with some difficult consequences. This
(electricity, solar, and wind) and away
is an unfortunate and deeply concerning
from fossil fuels, building more energyreality. Just consider the following fact.
efficient structures (buildings and facOur civilization has been successtories), promoting public transportation
ful at fighting disease and at developand electric-powered systems, advancing
ing wondrous technologies. However,
battery technologies, reducing CO 2 emiswe have been largely powerless in one
sions from buildings, stopping deforestadomain. We have not been successful
tion (so that trees can absorb the CO 2),
at resisting the wrath of nature when it
and the list goes on. Here again, our signal
strikes, from strong hurricanes, to powprocessing discipline has an important
erful tsunamis, to volcanic eruptions,
role to play by embedding these solutions
or devastating earthquakes. The 2004
with intelligent monitoring mechanisms,
Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami
sensing, and data analytics to promote efclaimed close to 280,000 lives alone.
ficiency and adaptability.
The 2011 Tohuku earthquake and tsuUnfortunately, technology alone is
nami in Japan claimed close to 16,000
not sufficient to address the foreseen

www.signalprocessingsociety.org

[2]

lives. The 2017 hurricane in Puerto
Rico claimed close to 3,000 lives. These
are devastating and tragic events, with
many lives lost. There are many other
equally painful and calamitous disasters. Continuing on the current trend,
with the rising CO 2 emission levels, rising greenhouse effect, and rising global
temperatures, natural disasters of this
magnitude are likely to become stronger
and perhaps even more frequent. Late
Pope John Paul II once stated, "The
Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship.
We cannot say we love the land and then
take steps to destroy it for use by future
generations." But it appears that we have
been moving in that direction.
We are leaving to our future generations the arduous task of fighting disasters that we have failed miserably
at tackling.

References

[1] "Remarks by President Barack Obama," Sept. 23,
2014. Accessed on: Mar. 9, 2019. [Online]. Available:
https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-pressoffice/2014/09/23/remarks-president-un-climatechange-summit
[2] NASA, "Global climate change," Accessed on:
Mar. 9, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://climate
.nasa.gov/
[3] "Climate crisis and a betrayed generation," The
Guardian, Mar. 1, 2019. Accessed on: Mar. 8, 2019.
[Online]. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/
environment/2019/mar/01/youth-climate-changestrikers-open-letter-to-world-leaders
[4] J. E. Postma, A note on Fourier and the greenhouse effect. Accessed on: Mar. 10, 2019. [Online].
Available: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1510.02503.pdf
[5] C. Nunez, "Sea level rise, explained," National
Geographic, Feb. 19, 2019. Accessed on: Mar. 10,
2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.national
geographic.com/environment/global-warming/sealevel-rise/
[6] J. Letman, "Rising seas give island nation a stark
choice: Relocate or elevate," National Geographic,
Nov. 19, 2018. Accessed on: Mar. 10, 2019. [Online].
Available: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/
environment/2018/11/rising-seas-force-marshallislands-relocate-elevate-artificial-islands/

SEPTEMBER 2019

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https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/remarks-president-un-climate-change-summit https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/remarks-president-un-climate-change-summit https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/23/remarks-president-un-climate-change-summit https://climatenasa.gov/ https://climatenasa.gov/ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/01/youth-climate-change-strikers-open-letter-to-world-leaders https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/01/youth-climate-change-strikers-open-letter-to-world-leaders https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/01/youth-climate-change-strikers-open-letter-to-world-leaders https://www.arxiv.org/pdf/1510.02503.pdf https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/sea-level-rise/ https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/sea-level-rise/ https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/sea-level-rise/ https://www.academia.edu/38694368/The_Disappearing_Island_State_phenomenon._A_challenge_to_the_universality_of_the_International_Law_of_the_Sea https://www.academia.edu/38694368/The_Disappearing_Island_State_phenomenon._A_challenge_to_the_universality_of_the_International_Law_of_the_Sea https://www.academia.edu/38694368/The_Disappearing_Island_State_phenomenon._A_challenge_to_the_universality_of_the_International_Law_of_the_Sea http://www.signalprocessingsociety.org

Content Gazette - September 2019

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