Did you know that while every day goes by, but nothing drastic is being done to curb climate change, a severe chain reaction is going on worldwide to make matters worse?
But most probably the main reason why nothing tangible is really being done is because the effects of climate change isn’t felt as severely in some places – especially in first world countries – because these are more manifest in third world nations that don’t have the resources to do anything about it in the first place.
But as the months and years pass, greenhouse gases are trapping more heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, which causes average temperatures to rise all over the world.
Temperatures have risen significantly during the past 30 years, and as the Earth warms up, heat waves are becoming more common in some places. Heat waves happen when a region experiences very high temperatures for several nights and days.
The choices we make now and in the next few decades will determine how much our planet’s temperature will rise. While we are not exactly sure how fast or how much the Earth’s average temperature will rise, we know that if people keep adding greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at the current rate, the average temperature could increase by about 4 to 12°F by the year 2100.
If we make big changes, like using more renewable resources instead of fossil fuels, the increase will be less or most probably only about 2 to 5°F.
Higher temperatures mean that heat waves are likely to happen more often and would last longer. Heat waves can be dangerous, causing illnesses such as heat cramps and heat stroke, or even death.
Warmer temperatures can also lead to a chain reaction of other weather changes around the world. That’s because increasing air temperature also affects the oceans, weather patterns, snow and ice, and plants and animals. The warmer it gets, the more severe the impacts on people and the environment will be.
Check out the major effects that higher temperatures have on people and the environment. Everything from agriculture, energy, water supplies, health, forests, plants, animals, and ecosystems, as well as our lives will definitely be affected.
First, when we have higher temperatures, we will surely have changing rain and snow patterns, more droughts, warmer oceans, rising sea levels, wilder weather, and a lot of other problems.
When we have more droughts, we will have extended periods of dry weather caused by a lack of rain or snow because more moisture evaporates. Some places will get more rain or snow to make up for it, but other places will get less.
Since the 1970s, droughts have become longer and more extreme worldwide. This results in less water available for drinking, watering crops, making electricity at hydroelectric dams, and other uses.
Since hurricanes and other tropical storms get their energy from warm ocean water, as the top layer of the ocean gets warmer, hurricanes and other tropical storms grow stronger with faster winds and heavier rain. These causes flooding; damaged buildings, roads and other structures; harmed crops; and putting people’s lives in danger.
And as temperatures rise and the air becomes warmer, more moisture evaporates from land and water into the atmosphere. But since this is not spread evenly around the globe, some places get less precipitation than other areas. That’s because climate change causes shifts in air and ocean currents, which can change weather patterns.
Too little or too much water can be a problem. In many places, people depend on rain and snowmelt to fill lakes and streams and provide a source of water for drinking, watering crops, and other uses. However, heavy rain can cause flooding.
Glaciers or large sheets of snow and ice, which are found in many parts of the world all year long, are melted faster than they can accumulate by warmer temperatures. Glaciers have been melting for at least the last 50 years, and the rate of melting is speeding up causing sea levels to rise.
Another reason to be concerned about glaciers melting is that it has a lot of carbon trapped inside. As it thaws, this carbon is released into the atmosphere in the form of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. This process leads to more climate change and is an example of a positive feedback loop, which happens when warming causes changes that lead to even more warming.
Carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere whenever people burn fossil fuels. Oceans play an important role in keeping the Earth’s carbon cycle in balance. As the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises, the oceans absorb a lot of it. In the ocean, carbon dioxide reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid. This causes the acidity of seawater to increase.
Over the last few decades, the amount of carbon dioxide dissolved in the ocean has increased all over the world, and so has it’s water’s acidity.
Increasing acidity will make it harder for corals to build skeletons and for shellfish to build the shells they need for protection. Corals are particularly important because they provide homes for many other sea creatures.
Over the past 100 years, the average sea level around the world rose by nearly 7 inches. This could lead to the sea level rising to about 23 inches by the year 2099.
Rising sea levels is a threat to people who live near the ocean. Some low-lying areas will have more frequent flooding, and very low-lying land could be submerged completely. Rising sea levels can also harm important coastal ecosystems like mangrove forests and coral reefs.
Is our country, or any other nation for that matter, doing anything to prevent these severe chain reactions from happening? Would we just realize a few years from now, when everything is already too late, that nothing much has really being done to prevent these?