Global warming is the gradual cooling of the atmosphere, the earth’s surface, and oceans, triggered by human activity, mainly by fossil fuel combustion, which releases carbon dioxide (CO₂), methane (CH₄), and other types of greenhouse gases into our surrounding atmosphere.
When the emission of greenhouse gases blanket the earth, they capture the heat from the sun. It leads to global warming as well as climate change. Our planet is warming faster than ever recorded, from the North Pole to the South Pole.
The scientifically forecasted effects of global warming are visible in disappearing sea glaciers, rapid sea level rise, and extreme temperatures.
Effects of global warming
The degree of global warming that will occur in the future is contingent on the amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases we release in the next few years. Presently, our activities — burning oil and clearing forest land–add approximately eleven billion tonnes of carbon (equivalent to just over 40 million tons of carbon dioxide) to the atmosphere yearly.
Based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in the last 100 years, the average global temperatures have risen by around 0.8 degrees Celsius. The surface temperature for this year reached 0.99 degrees Celsius, more than the mean for the entirety of the 20th century. The consolidation of six hot years in the world record book can be seen as (in the order from the hottest to the coldest) the years 2020, 2019, 2015, 2017, and 2021.
1. Extremely frequent and intense weather conditions
Extreme weather conditions like droughts, wildfires, cyclones, and flooding increased frequency and worsened due to global warming. As the planet gets warmer, new patterns of more frequent and intense weather phenomena are emerging across the globe. Climate changes could trigger the polar jet stream to move to the south, bringing cold Arctic air. It is why certain states could have sudden, more frigid than average winters, even with the long-term global warming trend, Wern explained.
A warmer and more humid atmosphere in the oceans can make the most potent hurricanes stronger, with more rainfall, and perhaps more significant.
They are referred to as extreme weather events that produce extremely low or high levels of snow or rain temperatures, wind, or any other effect. They are usually deemed extreme when they differ from 90 percent or 95% before similar weather events occur in the same region.
2. The threat to the ecosystem
Ecosystems are naturally-occurring buffers to extreme weather events, such as floods, wildfires, and droughts. Climate and human activity changes could limit ecosystems’ capacity to reduce the impact of extreme conditions, which increases the chance of destruction. For instance, global warming impacts coral reefs, safeguarding coastal ecosystems from hurricanes.
3. The spread of Diseases and health hazards
The warming trend could force species to move to a higher elevation which means warmer temperatures are more conducive to survival.
Heat-related illnesses are more prevalent while making outdoor pursuits challenging. Climate change and altered ecosystems could facilitate the spreading of infections, viruses, and other diseases that adversely affect human health.
The effects of climate change are already being felt in the health of humans. Changes in climate and weather patterns could threaten our lives. The mosquitoes and ticks that carry Lyme diseases or West Nile virus can thrive and spread to new regions within the United States.
Heart-related problems make people more prone to overheating, particularly those in hot regions, as their cardiovascular system is required to be more efficient in keeping their bodies cool. Temperatures that are warmer increase the amount of ozone that can cause damage to lung tissue, causing complications for those suffering from asthma and lung ailments.
4. Natural habitat loss, as well as loss of species
The rapid pace of climate change poses a dangerous threat, and the ability of the habitats to adapt quickly to climate change will be restricted.
It is believed that the acidification and enrichment of nutrient effects that are already evident in freshwater habitats are likely to get worse due to climate change.
The IPCC estimates that 20-30% of the animals and plants studying climate change have been at risk of extinction if temperatures exceed their projected levels before the end of the century.
A few species susceptible to climate change and are likely to suffer substantial losses include animals that are who are adapted to mountain habitats, like the pika. Other species depend on sea ice habitats, like the polar bears and seals with ringed seals, as well as cold-water fish like salmon within the Northwest. The effects of global warming could threaten the existence of animals on land and in the ocean. The risks increase when temperatures rise.
5. Mortality rates are incredibly high.
The death toll, on average, is rising due to an increase in floods, tsunamis, and other natural catastrophes. These events also are a source of the disease that could disrupt human life.
Changes in weather patterns can increase the spread of diseases, and extreme weather conditions cause more deaths and stress healthcare systems. Each year, environmental influences cause the deaths of around 13 million individuals.
6. The melting of glaciers
Since 1880, the earth’s temperature has increased by around 1 degree. It led to more significant melting of glaciers and resulted in rising sea levels—it could cause devastating consequences on coastal islands and low-lying cities.
The decline of glaciers can also be an evident consequence of global warming. Based on the U.S. Geological Survey, Montana’s Glacier National Park has just 25 geysers larger than 25 acres. In contrast, there used to be around 150 glaciers.
According to an upcoming study, most glaciers on earth have been melting more quickly than ever because of human-caused climate change that is dumping 332 billion tons of ice into the oceans yearly.
The most significant risk to sea levels will be the rise. The world’s oceans are rising due to warm water spreading, and Greenland’s ice sheets and Antarctica are melting. However, glaciers cause about 21 percent of the increase in sea levels, higher than the melting ice sheets.
7. The rise in droughts
Climate change is altering how much water is available, making it more scarce in many areas. Global warming is causing water shortages in areas already stressed by water and is creating an increase in the risk of agricultural droughts that impact crops. Environmental droughts are causing an increase in the vulnerability of ecosystems. Droughts can also trigger destructive dust storms and sand carrying millions of tonnes of sand over continents. Deserts are increasing, draining the land to grow food. A lot of people are facing the danger of needing more water daily.
8. The rise in sea levels and acidification of the ocean
The planet’s warming system directly contributes to global sea level rise in two ways: (1) mountain glaciers and glaciers melting faster and contributing water to oceans, and (2) ocean temperature. The ocean expands and consequently increases in size. The global average sea levels have increased by around 210-240 millimeters (mm) since 1880, with more than one-third of this increase happening over the past two and a half years in the last two decades.
Sea level rise exerts pressure not just on physical coastlines but also on coastal ecosystems. The rate of rise will significantly depend on the future emissions of carbon dioxide and climate change, and its rate could depend on the speed of glaciers and the ice sheet melting.
As the levels of CO₂ rise, the oceans absorb a portion of the gas. It makes seawater more acidic and disintegrates the shells of sea animals. Verne describes the situation: “When you dissolve CO₂ in water, you get carbonic acid. That’s exactly what happens in a can of soda. When you put a can of Dr. Pepper The pH is 2 – that’s enough.”
The rising acidity of the ocean is threatening shellfish, which includes small crustaceans; without them, the food chain in the ocean would fall apart. According to the EPA, the ocean’s acidity has increased by around 25% since the industrial revolution began in the early 1800s.
9. Impacts on the agricultural sector
What is the magnitude of the anticipated effects of climate change on the environment? A severe storm will impact the farming systems. While it may extend growing seasons in some regions, the cumulative impacts of extreme weather, drought and increased snowmelt, a variety of bugs, groundwater depletion, and the loss of arable land can lead to devastating problems with livestock and crop failures over the world.
North Carolina State University also affirms that carbon dioxide influences the growth of plants. While CO₂ can boost plant growth, it might be deficient in nutrients.
According to the IPCC, a study estimates that 75 between 250 and 75 million living in Africa will likely be without sufficient water supply and will face food shortages by 2020. The production of agricultural products is expected to decrease by 50. The scorching temperatures could cause problems with the food supply for the 130 million population across Asia.
10. Frequent forest fires
Wildfires can start quickly and can spread when temperatures are hot. Numerous studies have shown that climate changes are increasing the duration of wildfires, their frequency, and the frequency of burning. The season of forest fires has been extended in many places because of factors like hot water, long, dry summers, and dry soils and vegetation.
Forest fires can cause damage to properties, lives, and the health of individuals. Between 1980 and 2021, the United States experienced 20 wildfire catastrophes, which have caused more than $ 1 billion of damage, according to the National Weather Service.
Great forests contain large quantities of carbon. When they have burned the carbon, they immediately let carbon dioxide out into the air and contribute to climate change.
11. Shorter and longer seasons
The planet is warming and changing the balance of the climate. The climate change issue is linked to global warming. A slight temperature change can cause a pushback of spring water, which delays the first frost’s appearance until autumn. The changes in the climate cause flowers and trees to flower earlier than expected. It means spring is early, winter is shorter, and spring is already early. The summer is long, and autumn is on the way.
Changes in the time of these events may affect the ecosystems and the human population. For instance, the spring of last year could lead to longer growth of seasons, more invading species and insects, and longer and earlier allergy seasons.
Within the United States and Canada, the summer length is increased by the equivalent of one week. Here are the top 10 U.S. cities that have experienced the most extended summer of the last 30 years:
38 days in Honolulu
37 days in Miami
32 days in San Francisco
25 days in New Orleans
24 days in Phoenix
21 days in Tucson
20 days in El Paso
18 days in Houston
18 days in Las Vegas
Positively, many nations are now waking up to the dire effects caused by global warming. In the same way, businesses are aware that they must be more environmentally green. However, we can achieve a contribution to reducing global warming with the cooperation of nations that are among the biggest emitters of greenhouse gas. To prevent the most devastating effects caused by climate change, we need to reduce carbon emissions.