7 Effects of Global Warming
7 Effects of Climate Change
It's a hot topic these days but regardless of weather you believe Global Warming is being caused by human activity or not the general consensus is that the climate is warming. The implications of this affect not just the environment but human life as well.
What is Climate Change
The climate is a complex with many parts that are very sensitive to any changes. One of the key systems in our climate involves the release of heat from the atmosphere. Light comes in from the sun heats the surface of the Earth then that heat slowly makes it's way back out through the atmosphere. The rate of heat loss is in part determined by the volume of carbon dioxide our atmosphere contains. Carbon dioxide acts like a barrier which slows the rate of heat loss. The problem according to most scientists is that ever since the industrial revolution during the early 1800's we have been pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Things like cars, coal power plants and commercial industry are constantly acting like CO2 factories.
Deforestation is another major problem that could be contributing to human induced climate. Plants take in CO2 from the atmosphere and our forests, absorb CO2 it. The problem is that we have been reducing the sizes of our forests and to make matters worse, forests like the Amazon are reduced by burning which not only decreases the size of the forest but produces even more CO2.
This short video explains climate change
7 Effects of Global Warming
There are many consequences global warming could have on the Earth and us. Each will depend on the amount the globe has warmed. Below I have listed 7 effects of climate change.
1. Rising Sea Levels
As the Earth warms the polar ice caps and glaciers melt and at faster and faster rate. This has the effect of raising the sea level. The rise in sea could well be one of the most detrimental factors for people. It it is in our nature to live close to water, particularly by the sea, which puts most of the Earths population in the danger zone. In the case of some island nations the risk is extremely high. If levels rise as much as some scientists have predicted, entire nations could be literally wiped off out. This will also have a detrimental economic impact as many of the most expensive properties are right on the coast. Many scientitst have already reported a general increase in the rate at which glaciers are melting.
2. Spreading of Disease
When there is a change in the Earth's climate, previously cool areas become tropical and it is likely that diseases such as malaria and dengue fever will move in. The shift will cause greater numbers of fatalities and a greater strain on healthcare systems.
Learn more about climate change
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3. Lack of Water
Some of the driest parts of the world are also the poorest and as climate change progresses they will only become drier. This could be devastating for the communities in those regions where water is already in demand and in many cases does not exist in clean enough state to drink. These places may find themselves without enough water to sustain their populations. Many of course are already in this situation and lack of water is killing millions every year.
4. Environmental Effects
The environmental consequences of climate change are dire and we can expect our planet to suffer the most. Ocean life would be devastated, with mass fish die offs and some of our most beautiful reefs being destroyed.
As the climates changes biodiversity could be reduced significantly. We can expect extinctions on a very large scale as species will be unable to handle the change. For plants and animals living in cold climates it could be a case of not having any habitat left to live in.
It is important to remember that our environment exists as an ecosystem and that a small change can have much larger consequences. A little like the idea that a butterfly flapping it's wings can cause a tornado on the other side of the world. For example, in a particular ecosystem only a small group of insects may disappear because of climate change but they may have been the main food source for several bird species who were in tern a source of food for another species. The stability of the entire ecosystem could fall apart because of the few insects that died as a direct result of global warming.
A depressing little animation showing the effects of Climate change
5. Storms Floods and Other Natural Disasters
When the climate warms and weather paterns shift it is likely there will be an far greater number storms and floods. This may in fact already be happening. Hurricanes like Katrina, floods like those seen in Pakistan and Australia may become the norm. These events will kill millions of people and displace even more.
Dry areas that are currently subject to seasonal fire danger will become drier and drought will becomes more prevalent. As a result we can expect wildfires of greater intensity and frequency. Some regions may even become uninhabitable as the annual threat to life and property grows too high.
Learn more about climate change
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The ultimate result of many of the points described above will likely be that a huge numbers of people becoming homeless. Combine this with food shortage as a result of crop losses as well as water shortages and you have a recipe for conflict. Desperate people will of course stop at nothing to feed their families.
Global Warming at the hands of man may be controversial but like it or not most scientists agree that the world is getting hotter. The consequences will be dramatic even if we don't see them in our generation. There are many more things that will happen as a result of global warming most of which fit into what has been described above. This has been a very broad list of 7 effects of Global Warming.