Effects of Climate Change
There are many effects of climate change - some direct and some indirect. As climate changes, people, animals, and plants
have to adapt. Adaptation is a normal process and has been going on since the beginning of time. Where the problem comes
in is when environmental pollution leads to changes on a much smaller time scale than would be expected in a natural setting.
The Impact Due to Man's Activities
The accelerated climate changes and warming appear to be due in large part to extra greenhouse gas emissions being put into the atmosphere by the combustion of fossil fuels by mankind, since beginning of the industrial revolution. To fight climate change we need involvement from the individual and local communities up to the level of world governments.
Some of the direct consequences of increased greenhouse gases are an increase in global temperatures, or
As a result of this increase in temperature (around 1.5 F since 1850), sea levels have been rising due to melting glacier ice and the thermal expansion of the oceans. The sea levels have risen around an inch in the last century. By most accounts, the rate of rise has been accelerating, which will lead to the submersion of low lying area, such as Bangladesh.
Other direct consequences of global warming are expect to include: more
- in terms of more severe drought in some parts of the world and persistent flooding in other areas, larger and more frequent hurricanes, and deadly heat to name a few.
Some Indirect Effects of Climate Change
There will be indirect consequences of the increase in temperatures also. As climate zones shift pole-ward, species of
animals and plants will be forced to adapt quickly or perish. For example, there is increasing evidence the much of the
coral reef system
could be in danger due to the rapid climate change.
In the past
have been linked to past climate changes. This is logical as mentioned earlier that plants and animals which adapt
slowly over millions of years will be forced to "sink or swim".
Some other effects of climate change? Enhanced droughts lead to more deforestation (especially in third-world countries) when governments in need of cash turn their land into a huge crop producing factory. They usually export food to the rich countries so they can have enough money to drive their economy. In parts of Latin American deforestation of the
tropical rain forest due to the effects of climate change
has reached 1.5 acres per second! This has led to a stunning loss of various species of life.
As you can guess the effects of climate change are shared by everyone. No one, no creature, no country, and no society is immune. The warming due to the activities of mankind are like a giant experiment in that we really don't know exactly how the earth-atmosphere will react. As the amount of greenhouse gases continue to reach new record highs since human's have inhabited the earth, it will become more important to be knowlegeable and prepared.
|See my article on global warming science
The latest in global warming and climate change science is presented though James Hansen's book, "Storms of my Grandchildren". Dr. Hansen is one of the best known and respected climate scientists in the world.