Effects of global warming on our planet
Global warming leads to increase in average temperature of earth, atmosphere and oceans. The main cause of this warming is due to burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. During burning, carbon dioxide and other substances are released into the atmosphere, known as greenhouse gases. When these gases are increased in the atmosphere, it acts as insulator to retain most of the heat reaching the planet.
The average temperature of the surface of the earth is about 15°C. This temperature has increased by about 0.6°C during the last 100 years. The scientists has warned that by 2100, this temperature will further rise by 1.4 to 5.8°C. This abrupt temperature change is expected to melt polar ice caps and glaciers and will warm oceans. This will expand ocean volume and sea level will rise flooding coastal regions. The consequences of global warming are so dangerous that leading scientists of the world has called for immediate action and international cooperation.
Scientists have made several predictions, using computer models, about how global warming will affect weather, sea levels, coastlines, wildlife and humans.
According to scientist’s prediction, northern regions of Northern Hemisphere will warm up more than other regions of the world. Glaciers will shrink and less ice will float in the oceans. The winter and night temperatures will tend to increase as compared to summer and daytime. As the planet would be warmed, it will be more humid because more and more water will be evaporating from the oceans.
Due to increase in humidity, rainfall will increase, around 1% for each ⁰F of warming. The intensity and frequency of the storms will increase. Some regions on earth will become drier as compared to others. The patterns of winds will also change and it will blow hard. The weather patterns would be less predictable and more extreme.
Due to warming in the atmosphere, the surface of the ocean will warm up as well, its volume will expand and thus rise in sea level will occur. The warming of ocean will also melt the glacier ice, which will swell the sea. During the 20th century, there was 4 to 10 inches sea level rise worldwide and scientists predict further 4 to 35 inches rise in 21st century.
In many coastal regions, life will become complicate due to sea-level changes. If there is 40 inches rise in sea level, it could submerge 6% of The Netherlands, 17.5% of Bangladesh and almost all of the islands. Beaches, cliffs and dunes will be eroded. Storm surges and flooding from runoff will also increase. The rick countries will spend huge money to protect their shorelines, while the poor countries will simply evacuate their coastal regions.
The global warming will lead to increased food production at some places. For example, the Southern part of Canada may receive more rainfall and long growing season, but some semiarid parts of Africa may become further deteriorated. Woodlands and crops may be further suffered by more insects and diseases.
It would be difficult for plants and animals to escape or adjust the effects of global warming. Animals will start migrating towards poles and towards higher elevations and plants will also shift towards new habitats. This shift is however blocked by human development. Some species die out because their way is blocked out by cities or farmlands.
Scientists predict that more people will get sick or die from heat stress due to global warming. The tropical diseases which are common now are either transmitted by mosquitoes and other animal hosts. Around 45% people of the world are at risk of malaria. This number may increase to 60% if temperature rises. Scientists predict that due to warmer air, the incidents of allergies and respiratory diseases increase as warmer air is more charged with pollutants. Other tropical diseases like dengue fever, yellow fever and encephalitis may also spread.
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