Global warming and the effects on the environment
The planet is getting warmer today faster than at any time in the past raising alarm among all the communities around the globe. From 1906, the average surface temperature of the earth is seen to increase between 1.1 and 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius). This can be even more in the polar regions that are highly sensitive. Due to the impact of the rising temperature, we are facing a lot of danger signs around the globe right now. Here we discuss the issue of global warming and its far-reaching effects on the environment.
The primary cause of global warming
Global warming also understood as the gradual heating up of the earth’s surface, atmosphere, and the seas are mainly caused due to the activities of humans on the planet like the burning of fossil fuels that release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere like carbon dioxide, methane, and others. Despite the controversy on the connection between human activities and global warming, over197 international scientific organizations have accepted the fact that global warming is happening in reality and it is caused by human actions.
The alarming effects of global warming
- Ice is seen melting around the globe. It is very prominent especially in the North and South Poles. The most popular ones to get affected are the mountain glaciers, ice covers of the Greenland and West Antarctica, and the Arctic sea.
- Some species are moving to the danger of becoming extinct due to the rising temperature. For instance, according to researcher Bill Fraser, the number of Adélie penguins on Antarctica is fast declining. During the last30 years, their population has dwindled from 32,000 breeding pairs to just11,000. Some alpine plants, foxes and butterflies have gone off to more higherand cooler areas farther north.
- The sea level rises more quickly than ever over the last century.
- The average rainfall and precipitation have enormously increased across the globe.
- Some invading species have multiplied. To name one, the sprucebark beetles have increased in population exponentially in Alaska due to the warmer summer over the past 20 years. Estimates say these insects have devoured more than 4 million acres of spruce trees.
Alarming effects in line forecasted due to global warming
- By the end of this century, the sea levels can rise between 7 and 23 inches. The ice melting at the poles can further add up 4 to 8 inches of water around the globe.
- Scientists say the hurricanes and storms are becoming stronger with every year passing by.
- Droughts alternated by floods are becoming a common occurrence across geographies. For example, rainfall in Ethiopia can decline by 10 percent over the next past fifty years alone.
- There could be an acute shortage of fresh water. By 2100, the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru can disappear completely. This can leave thousands of people without water to drink.
- Due to the resurgence of some deadly viruses, some diseases like mosquito-borne malaria could erupt and spread uncontrollably. With the change of the ecosystems, some species can become more successful by moving further north while some other lesser resilient species can become extinct. The disappearance of the sea ice can lead to the extinction of the polar bears.
Far-reaching consequences of global warming
Temperature extremes and increase in average temperature
Over the past hundred years, the average temperature has increased by about 1.4degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius). Records show that since 2001, every next year was warmer than the previous one. Extreme weather is another dreadful effect of global warming. We are experiencing some of the hottest summers during our times besides feeling much colder winters than usual. Global warming is also found to lead to extreme weather in addition to the cold or heat extremes. Researches show that hurricanes can henceforth become less frequent, but more intense.
Melting of ice
Icemelt is a very prominent result of climatic change. Between 1960 and 2015, the permafrost or the permanently frozen ground in the northern hemisphere has reduced by about 10 percent. This can give way to the release of long-buried microbes. Hen such an incident happened in 2016 revealing a cache of buried reindeer carcasses, anthrax broke out. Only 25 glaciers that are bigger than 25acres are found now in Montana’s Glacier National park as against over 150 of them found some time back.
Sea level rise and acidification oceans
The melting of ice leads to sea levels rise. In average, the sea level rise is found to be about 0.12 inches or 3 millimeters per year around the globe. This is said to be double than the average increase noted in the 20th century. Climate scientists say that humans are to be blamed for the warming of oceans, rising sea levels and melting of ice. Since 1870, the global sea levels have been found to increase by 8 inches. If the greenhouse gas emissions ground checked, it is estimated that by 2100, the sea level will rise by 3 feet leading to the inundation of many coastal areas.
Effects on society
Alongside the dramatic effects of climate change across the world, there could also be some devastating effects of climate change on human society. Factors like the expansion of growing seasons, drought, extreme weathers, lack of snowmelt, more significant types of pests, lowering of the groundwater tables, loss of arable lands, crop failure, and the shortage of livestock can severely affect agriculture. The increase of carbon dioxide in the air is leading to plants becoming lesser nutritious. Loss of food security can lead to food riots, political instability, and civil riots.