I retain information from primary school where my basic science book had a drawing depicting the cycle of flowing water from mountains streaming to the ocean, evaporates with the heat of the sun, form into clouds and rains back onto the mountains.
Sunday school day's story tales that the earth was filled only with water and water was all over the planet earth. Then the creation on the separation of water to have dry land that was then filled with its natures and occupants and the story of Noah and his family that experienced the first and the last flood.
As we are on the road to build a better Fiji, there are obstacles that the nation as a whole has to endure, but also there are responsibilities for every person to preserve a balanced environment.
Climate change has been exuberated by human activities at a much faster rate that people can adapt to.
Floods can be described according to speed, geography or the causes. Flood situation in which water temporarily covers the land where water may come from the sea, rivers, sewer or dam burst.
Storms and other extreme weather conditions combined with high tides can cause sea levels to rise forcing sea water to cause coastal flooding. River or flash floods are generally caused by prolonged, extensive rain. Fallen trees, natural overgrowth or rubbish contribute to flooding as it can also block the free flow of rivers. Our nation must expect that flash flooding may become frequent because of climate change and too much development in river mouths.
Floods occur in many countries and can cause enormous damages like economic damages and damage to the natural environment. They bring misery to the people living in flood prone areas, it can cause loss of life, disruption of daily life, contaminate drinking water, electricity breakdown, road blocks and people not going to work or to school.
Tropical cyclone is a storm system fuelled by the heat released when moist air rises and the water vapour in it condenses, therefore the water temperature must be 27C.
A tropical cyclone is a non-frontal storm system that is characterised by a low pressure centre, spiral rain bands and strong winds.
Usually it develops over tropical or subtropical waters and it rotates clockwise in the southern hemisphere.
Tropical cyclone can extremely produce strong winds; torrential rain, high waves and these disasters are usually more destructive than floods. The effects of continuous heavy rain and cyclones on human population can be devastating, however it also can have beneficial effects by relieving drought conditions. Taking away heat from the tropics is an important mechanism of the global atmospheric circulation that maintains equilibrium in the earth's troposphere.
In cases of cyclones, accurate landfall predictions can give only a few hours notice to the threatened population. In addition, people generally opt to wait until the very last minute before abandoning their homes and possessions. There are five categories of cyclones, five types of flood, tremors, earthquakes, tsunami that are possible to hit our isle, however there are some other natural disasters like tornadoes that we have not yet experienced to the fullest. Earth, air, fire or water are forces of nature.
In 2011 the world took a beating from these four disastrous elements. New Zealand, Japan, Burma, Spain, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Turkey and two states in the US were struck by powerful earthquakes in which Japan recorded 9.0 on the Richter scale.
With air, tropical cyclone Yasi was one of the damaging cyclones to hit Australia costing them $3.5 billion, 15,000 people were left homeless after a category 3 cyclone hit Madagascar.
Hurricane Irene cost the US government billions in damage while three deadly tornadoes also struck three states in the land of the free.
Floods and mudslides hit Brazil with a death toll of at least 800; also Australia, the US Thailand and the continuing drought in East Africa where 13.3 million lives are at risk. Fires burned hundreds of thousand of hectares and destroyed homes and buildings in the US, Canada, Mexico and Australia.
According to the NOAA, the US experienced a record 12 weather disasters each costing $1 billion in 2011.
Hurricane Oscar in March of 1983 was classified as the worst to strike our nation since the hurricanes and floods that happened back in 1931 in which more than 200 lives were lost.
During the aftermath of cyclone Kina in 1993, a pal of mine, Durinalotu, asked if I could lend him a hand to clear the debris and scrub off the soil that had stained the walls of their home. During the flood of 2009 my friend's old house was left only with the roof seen, although the ruinous downpour of 30th March 2012 saw this very house, situated in Waqadra, under water. Scientists have come up with the firmest evidence so far that global warming will significantly increase the intensity of the most extreme storms worldwide.
Nobel Prize winner chemist Svante Arrhenius in 1896, first proposed that carbon dioxide traps heat in the earth's atmosphere and that burning coal and oil releases CO2. He also speculated that continued burning of coal and oil would increase concentrations of CO2 in the earths atmosphere, making the planet warmer (greenhouse effect).
Pollution is one of the biggest man-made problems. Pollution comes in many shapes and sizes. Another major man-made cause is population. More people mean more food, and more methods of transportation. That means more methane because there will be more burning of fossil fuels, and more agriculture. Another source of methane is manure. Because more food is needed we have to raise food. Animals like cows and pigs are a source of food which means more manure and methane.
Another problem with the increasing population is transportation. More people mean more cars and more cars means more pollution. Also, many people have more than one car.
Since CO2 contributes to global warming, the increase in population makes the problem worse because we breathe out CO2. Also, the trees that convert our CO2 to oxygen are being demolished because we're using the land that we cut the trees down from as property for our homes and buildings.
We are not replacing the trees (an important part of our ecosystem) as we should, so we are constantly taking advantage of our natural resources and giving less back in return.
Today we may not be able to do some of the activities we used to. Of the big outdoor activities like swimming, people are travelling far and wide to search for crystal clear and less polluted waters compared to the itching public beaches nearby.
Some other problems are safety and health. If you are unprepared to go outside, you could get sunburnt or become dehydrated.
Our children will have to wear sunscreen more often from the risk of getting skin cancer. Some people will probably stay indoors more often and some may love the extra heat and the sun shining more often. Also, we will need to drink more water when we do physical activities outside. From gardening, to bike-riding or jogging, we are always reminded to take a water bottle.
The primary greenhouse gas responsible for global warming is carbon dioxide and almost all of that is because of human activities.
During the 20th century alone, the average surface temperature of the world has increased by 1.2 to 1.4F. 2000-2009 was the hottest decade on record, with eight of the hottest 10 years having occurred since 2000.
Extreme weather doesn't just mean high temperatures. Global warming is causing more intense rainfall and droughts at the same time across the world. Sea levels have risen between 4-8 inches worldwide during the last century, and experts predict they could rise as much 2 feet in the next 100 years.
The World Health Organisation blames 150,000 deaths per year on the effects of global warming including extreme weather, drought, heat waves, decreased food production and the increased spread of diseases like malaria.
Coral reefs which are highly sensitive to small changes in water temperatures may possibly die-off in response to the increase in frequency and intensity in the next 40 years as sea temperatures rise. The bleaching of corals from small but prolonged rises in sea temperature is a severe danger for ocean ecosystems, and many other species in the oceans rely on coral reef for their survival.
The effects on animals and on agriculture are indeed frightening and the effects on the human population are even scarier.
Facts about global warming are often debated in politics and in the media, but unfortunately if we disagree about the causes, global warming effects are real and measurable.
The causes are mainly from us, the human race and the effects on us will be severe in years to come.
Mr B6, a local exclusive resort tycoon and also a staunch Republican, for some different reason does not believe in global warming. He always emphasises that global warming was an environmentalist created issue.
Every day, more electric gadgets flood the market, and without widespread alternative energy sources, we are highly dependent on burning coal for our personal and commercial electrical supply.
With our population growing at an alarming rate, the demand for more cars and consumer goods means that we are increasing the use of fossil fuels for transportation and manufacturing. Our consumption is outpacing our discoveries of ways to mitigate the effects, with no end in sight to our massive consumer culture.
Scientists predict an increase in sea levels worldwide because of the melting of two massive ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland.
However, many nations around the world will experience the effects of rising sea levels, which could displace millions of people. Two nations, the Maldives and Tuvalu, are already looking for a new home thanks to rising sea levels. Even if emissions are stopped today, we will still feel the effects for years to come.
nAreki Dawai is a letter writer to The Fiji Times. The opinion is his and not of this newspaper.