In the past years, we have been hearing a lot about global warming and its impacts on our climate. Global warming is the gradual rise in the earth’s temperature, due to the increased volumes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels. Scientists claim that in a span of a hundred years, the earth’s temperature increased from 0.4°C to 0.8°C.
Studies show that global warming is already having significant and costly effects not only on our climate but also on our health. Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere make oceans warmer and more acidic, posing a threat to marine life. In this article, we discuss some of the negative effects of global warming and its overall impact.
Changes in weather conditions
One of the visible consequences of global warming is extreme weather conditions. Changes in the weather conditions are resulting in more intense rain, snow storms, heat waves, droughts and large hurricanes amongst others. As a result of these extreme weather conditions, we are suffering from severe natural disasters.
Heavier precipitation and flooding, including fish
Heavy rainfalls are creating more flooding problems. Coastal flooding occurs when a large storm or tsunami causes the sea to surge inland. Floods may take hours or even days to develop, giving residents the time to evacuate. Other forms of flooding may occur instantly with little or no chance to warn the public.
Flooding is becoming one of the most common forms of natural disasters. The number of deaths due to flooding is also rising, and many have lost their homes as they are destroyed.
Sea level rises due to the melting of glaciers
Increase in temperature is causing the ice caps of the north and south poles to melt faster. Scientists have warned that the melting of the glaciers and ice caps is accelerating at a considerable rate, posing serious implications of sea level rises.
Intensive heat waves and wildfires
Global warming is causing frequent and more intensive heat waves. Scientists have found that hot weather is more frequent these days than it was sixty years ago, which is resulting in regular heat related deaths. The increase in heat also poses a series of health risks such as exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke. In exceptionally hot weather conditions, the human body sweats to cool itself. In humid conditions, sweat does not evaporate as quickly and the body’s ability to cool itself is diminished.
Hot temperatures are also a consequence of wildfires. Snow is melting earlier in the spring months and forests are becoming drier than usual, giving leeway to longer periods of the wildfire season. At present, the wildfire season in the US is seven months long, whereas in the 1970s this was five months.
Climate change also has significant implications on our health. Rising temperatures are most likely to lead to air pollution, a major contributor for respiratory diseases such as asthma, longer allergy seasons and the spread of insect borne diseases.
Solutions to climate change
Countries around the world have acknowledged the fact that climate change is a major threat to our planet and cannot go on being unaddressed. On December 12th, 2015, countries around the world signed a landmark agreement known as the Paris Agreement, to combat climate change, to create initiatives and to invest in better solutions for a sustainable low carbon future.