Hurricane Isaias slammed the East Coast of the U.S. earlier this month. Wildfires are burning thousands of acres on the West Coast. And earlier this year, it hit 100 degrees in Siberia. What do all these things have in common?
The answer: Climate change.
According to CBS News Meteorologist Jeff Berardelli, climate change is going to mean more extremes. More heatwaves, more extreme hurricanes, more extreme fire seasons.
"Climate change is here right now, and it's only going to get worse in the future unless we start to combat it very forcefully right now," Berardelli said. "There's absolutely no doubt there these types of extreme heat waves are becoming much more common than they would have been, let's says 50 years ago or so."
This season is on an accelerated pace, and part of that is due to extraordinarily warm temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, and human-caused climate change, Berardelli explained.
"Climate change loads the dice for a more active hurricane season, more intense hurricanes are likely because of warmer water temperatures," Bernadeli said. "We've seen an increase of around two degrees Fahrenheit in most of the Atlantic Ocean, especially the tropical Atlantic, warmer water is like high octane fuel for tropical systems."
As a climate specialist, Berardelli predicts more intense hurricanes and more damaging storms. Other areas have experienced scorching hot temperatures and recent locust invasions.
Climate change is happening all over the planet, and no one is immune.
"One thing that's contributing to Earth's warming right now is human-caused climate change," Berardelli said. "It is greenhouse gases. The burning of fossil fuels, releasing carbon dioxide, and the release of methane into the atmosphere. It forms kind of a blanket that traps heat in and causes Earth's temperature to rise. It is certainly not solar activity. Because solar activity has gone down a lot over the past several years."
There is no silver bullet; however, there are things we can do. For one, reduce our fossil fuel dependency.
"We need to switch our electricity system over to solar over the wind, maybe nuclear. Electrify just about everything. We need our cars to be electric cars,” he added.
In fact, for Berardelli, climate change is not only a scientific problem; it is a moral and ethical issue.
"We're leaving this Earth a lot worse than the way we found it. And it's our children and our grandchildren that are going to have to pay the price," he said.
"There's even a religious and spiritual reason not to be happy about what we're doing to the Earth right now. If you believe that this is God's creation, we should be taking care of it. We should be stewards of the Earth, and we're not doing that."