The Effects of Global Warming
Global warming is a serious problem of the 21st-century world and impacts all forms of life on the planet, including people of all ages and statuses. In fact, humans have created the problem by themselves. No matter that the disastrous outcomes of the issue are evident and are familiar to everyone, they still go on burning fossil fuels, destroying forests, and releasing into the atmosphere many pollutants, which are the primary cause of the planet to get warm. Therefore, global warming cannot but have effects on all living things on the globe, changing the weather, the ecosystems, and damaging humans’ health. The aim of the paper is to discuss the issue of global warming in relation to its causes, effects, and the projected consequences in the future on the basis of present-day changes occurring in the global environment.
Changes in Weather
Rising temperatures and heat waves are a serious problem caused by global warming and have already taken lives of thousands of people all over the world. Because of global warming, such phenomenon as heat days has become more frequent. Nowadays, people face hot days and nights more often than 60 years ago with heat waves having detrimental effects on individuals. For instance, in 2003, Europe suffered from the heat wave which caused over 40,000 deaths (UCAR, 2007). In July 2006, the central and southern regions of the state of California were affected by the heat wave that resulted in deaths of more than 140 citizens (UCAR, 2007). There is research data which proves that by the 2040s similar heat waves will also be typical for the European summer periods. There is no doubt that heat and heat waves are the killing effects of global warming. Denchak states that the extreme hot spell is a more serious issue than tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods if taken altogether (2016). The reason for such a statement is the deaths of thousands of Americans caused by heat waves resulting from global warming and ruining people’s lives.
The situation with rain, snow, and drought should not be underestimated as well since it is expected to deteriorate shortly and the abovementioned natural hazards will empty the countries’ budgets. Recently, the average amounts of rains have risen all over the world. Across the globe, torrential rains as well as heavy snowfalls have become more usual than a century ago. In some world regions people should also get ready for more rainy days in the future. According to Denchak, the United States of America has suffered great losses, in particular $1 billion, because of more frequent climatic changes and severe weather than ever before (2016). Another problem with torrential rains is that they contaminate drinking water, which, in its turn, affects humans’ health. In addition, the occurrence of droughts has doubled since the 1970s (UCAR, 2007). It happens because warming causes water to evaporate and at the same time pulling water out of the ground and making it arid. Consequently, such effects of global warming as rain, snow, and drought are characteristic for the whole globe today and often make countries, in which they occur, run over their budgets in terms of prevention and reparation expenses.
One of many effects of global warming is stormy weather, which manifests itself in tornadoes and hurricanes. In the United States of America, storm winds are not very frequent. However, people have been watching weak tornadoes more and more often recently. As to hurricanes, they cause the fraction of tropical cyclones globally. The temperatures of the Atlantic, as well as the Pacific oceans, have increased provoking intense hurricanes (UCAR, 2007). According to Bradford, hurricanes will undergo specific changes in their formations (2014) and will become less frequent but more intense. Nevertheless, while it is impossible to predict the situation accurately, the researchers need more data to be able to do that. Since these extremes occur rather rarely, more time is available to make adequate adjustments. Global warming has caused such phenomenon as stormy weather. Its components are tornadoes and hurricanes, which are expected by the scientists to change shortly, changing the ecosystems along the way.
Changes in Ecosystems
Global warming has affected polar and mountainous regions and resulted in melting glaciers and rising sea levels. The ice of the Arctic Ocean has been retreating further than in the 1980s (UCAR, 2007). In Antarctica and Greenland, as well as everywhere on Earth, glaciers are continuing to melt freeing huge masses of water into world oceans and seas. Since 1912, more than 80% of the snows of Kilimanjaro have turned into water (Glick, n.d.). Researchers also believe that by 2035 Indian Glaciers will disappear (Glick, n.d.). As mentioned above, the retreat of glaciers is a major contributor to the sea level rise. As a result, the world’s coastlines may undergo striking changes. Some scientists assume that in East Antarctica the ice cover will decrease shortly affected by the quick-moving process of the global warming. The problem of melting glaciers is becoming more evident nowadays since snow in Antarctica, Greenland, and India continues melting even during cold seasons.
Plant life is harmed by global warming as well. The thing is that even insignificant increase in the temperature negatively affects terrestrial flora. Polar regions plants are damaged by global warming most of all (Ast, 2010). Due to the heat and drought, there have been numerous forest fires in such countries as Canada, Australia, and Russia. The wildfires are a major source of carbon dioxide which comprises 72% of total greenhouse gasses (Rohrer, 2007). As a result of raising temperatures, forests are moving to the then Arctic tundra. In some parts of the globe, the growing season has become longer than 60 years ago (UCAR, 2007). The US Natural Assessment found that maple trees will cease to grow in New England because of the global warming and climate change. The world agriculture will also be affected by global warming, depriving important crops of vital amounts of moist necessary for sustaining life and giving bountiful harvests (UCAR, 2007).
Climate change also has an impact on the wildlife. According to the 2003 survey, a third of 677 animal species have been shifting towards higher altitudes as a result of considerable warming in their habitat (UCAR, 2007). Other animals that cannot adapt to the high temperatures are predicted to face extinction. Rising temperatures in the ocean have damaged a significant number of the world’s reefs and made the existence of numerous coral species impossible. Gradually, the chemical composition of water in seas has changed which led to it being less alkaline hence encouraging acidification which negatively affects the marine life, making certain species (amphibian in particular) especially vulnerable and even endangered. In search of the relieving the Arctic, such birds as sparrows and robins can now be seen. However, scientists admit that many species will not be able to adapt. The continuation of global warming is expected to have detrimental effects on numerous ecosystems and cause their extinction.
Global Warming and Human Health
Climate change is also a crucial determinant of human existence. Balbus et al. claim that global warming affects people’s health in two ways: either by complicating the already existing health problems or creating new threats (2016). Heat days and nights can cause heat strokes, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions among others (EPA, 2017). In areas where people are not used to high temperatures, the rapid effects will be most harmful. The swift climate changes are known to negatively affect the air condition, the poor quality of which is the primary cause of asthma. As mentioned earlier, wildfires produce excessive amounts of carbon dioxide and also promote airborne allergens. In more humid regions, the days with much ground-level ozone, which is the main component of smog, are predicted to become more frequent and consequently, more harmful to human health. According to Winckler, in dry and arid parts of the planet, fine particles of dust lifted by the wind impact the planet’s radiative balance and often lead to lung cancer in people subjected to continuous impacts (2010). Denchak emphasizes that the hotter days are, the more of these people receive (2016).
Global warming causes the risk of death related to the sea level rise and flooding, in particular for the people who live on the small islands. Extreme heat poses a risk as well, especially to urban citizens and those working in the open air. Among other hazards, Abdelhamid also mentions that of food insecurity as products spoil fast both in the regions which are to warm and in places with the extreme levels of humidity (2015). Global warming and its effects are detrimental to the humans’ health and cause more deaths daily than any virus or disease.
To conclude, global warming is the problem created by people largely through the regular pollution and destruction of the environment. Such actions prove to have a dramatic effect on the globe and it is expected to worsen with time. Global warming has caused changes in weather, ecosystems, and is consequently directly damaging people’s health, safety, and wellbeing in general. Among all manmade problems, this one is by far bearing the most catastrophic potential.
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