Effects of climate change
Global warming is projected to have overarching, long-lasting and, in many cases, detrimental consequences for the planet.Scientists are confident that global temperatures will keep on increasing for decades to come, mainly by the cause of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes over 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, predicts a 2.5 to 10 degree Fahrenheit temperature rise over the next century.
The severity of climate change effects on specific areas, according to the IPCC, will shift over time and with the ability of various social and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change.
“Overall, the range of the data presented demonstrates that the net damage cost of climate change is substantial and can keep growing over time” the IPCC adds.
• Increase in average temperatures
Temperatures have increased over the previous 30 years, and the decade from 2001 to 2010 was the hottest ever recorded. Heat waves are becoming more prevalent in some locations, including the United States, as the Earth warms. When a region has extremely high temperatures for multiple days and nights, this is referred to as a heat wave. Heat waves are more likely to occur and last longer as temperatures rise. Heat waves can be harmful, causing illnesses such as heat cramps and heat stroke, as well as death. Warmer temperatures can also trigger a series of other changes all over the world. This is because growing air temperatures have an impact on the oceans, weather patterns, snow and ice, as well as flora and fauna. The warmer it gets, the worse the effects on people and the environment will be.
• More extreme weather events
Another effect of climate change is extreme weather. According to Climate Central, severe weather phenomena such as heat waves, droughts, blizzards, and rainstorms will continue to occur more frequently and with higher severity as a result of global warming. Climate change can cause the arctic jet stream (the boundary between cold arctic air and warm equatorial air masses) to shift south and result in cold arctic air. This is why, even with the long-term trend of global warming, certain states may experience a sudden cold snap or a colder-than-normal winter. Other than cold or heat extremes, global warming may result in severe weather. Hurricane formations, for example, will fluctuate. Yet this is still an ongoing scientific study topic, current computer models of the atmosphere show that storms are more likely to become less common on a worldwide scale, though those that do develop may be more extreme.
• Melting glaciers
Melting has been one of the most visible signs of climate change so far. As the Earth has warmed, sea levels have risen by roughly 1-2 millimeters each year. Melting glaciers and ice sheets bring water to the oceans, accounting for some of the sea level increase. Some glaciers and ice sheets are especially fragile. Because of global warming, they have become less stable, have moved quicker towards the ocean, and have added more ice to the waters. In addition, the melting permafrost emits greenhouse gases. Polar soil that has been frozen for more than 40,000 years due to global warming is melting. Carbon trapped in melted soil is released into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide and methane. When these gases are released into the atmosphere, they create further heat, which causes the frozen earth to melt even more.
· Ocean acidification
The increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere raises ocean surface temperatures and causes acidification. Although heat and acidity are two distinct processes, they combine to harm marine ecosystems. These changes to the ocean are not occurring at the same rate everywhere: there are considerable variations across temperature, latitude, and altitude gradients. Bleaching, a process in which corals discharge their symbiotic algae, struck parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017. Bleaching is a symptom of stress caused by overheated water and ph imbalance. According to the EPA, if the current trend of ocean acidification continues, coral reefs are likely to become rarer in regions where they are currently widespread, including most U.S. seas.
• Social impact
As our climate continues to heat up and the effects of its warming become more frequent and serious, farmers and farm communities around the world are facing ever-increasing challenges. Rising average temperatures, more severe heat throughout the year, fewer cool days during the winter, and more frequent cold seasons of sea ice affect farmers in all regions. Besides, rainfall patterns, which have already begun to shift across the country, are expected to worsen in the coming years. This is expected to result in more severe bouts of heavy rain and lengthier periods of drought.