The Climate Change Story: PART II

rising sea

What Are the Effects of Climate Change Today?

Effects on Earth

It was about 100 years ago; people all over the world began burning more coal and oil for homes, factories, and transportation. Burning these fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These added greenhouses gasses have caused Earth to warm more quickly than it has in the past. How much warming has occurred? Scientists from around the world tell us that during the past 100 years, the average global air temperature has risen more than 0.6°C (1.0 °F). This little change can affect the earth to a great extent.

Sea-level is Rising
During the 20th century, sea level rose 10-20 cm (4-8 inches) due to melting glacier ice and expansion of warmer seawater. And if this continues, it will sink some of the major coastlines of the world by the century’s end.

Arctic Sea Ice Is Melting
The summer thickness of Arctic icebergs is about half of what it was 50 years ago.

Sea-surface Temperatures Are Warming
Some animals, such as corals, cannot live in warmer seas. Over the past few decades, about a quarter of the world’s coral reefs have died.

Water Cycle Speeding Up
Heavier rainfall causes flooding in many regions as warmer temperatures speed up the water cycle. In the last ten years, floods have caused more damage than in the previous 30 years.

Farming Patterns Changing
Farming lands and regions also got effected to a great extent. With the climate getting warmer, some mid-latitude places, like Europe, are getting a longer growing season, while some tropical places are becoming too hot and dry to grow crops.

Phenomenon of Drought Increasing
The amount of drought may be increasing. Higher temperatures lead to a high rate of evaporation and very dry conditions in some areas of the world. Researchers are not sure if drought has increased as a result of current warming.

Ecosystems are Changing
With rising temperatures, species may migrate to cooler places or die. Species that are in particularly danger include endangered species, coral reefs, and polar animals such as penguins, polar bears and seals.

Weather Events Are Increasing
Severe weather events may be more common and stronger. Some researchers say that the number and strength of hurricanes, tornadoes, and other events has increased over the last 15-20 years. However, scientists are still looking into this.

Earth’s Vegetation Has Increased
Among all destructions, global climate change has got easy on plant life around the globe, allowing vegetation to increase 6 percent over the study period. Owing to the added sunshine, photosynthesis has been rampant. The Amazon basin accounts for 42 percent of the global increase in vegetation, according to the study.

How the World’s Climate May Change in the Future?

Climate change is one of the most serious environmental threats facing the world today. Scientists fear that its impacts will be felt across the world.

Rising Sea Levels May Drown Coastlines
Sea level is rising. In the next 100 years, sea level may rise as much as 85 cm (33 inches). This is a threat to people living near the coast, wetlands, and coral reefs. Sea level is expected to rise by over 40 centimeters by the 2080s because of thermal expansion of the oceans as temperatures rise and because of melting of land ice

Melting Ice May Change World’s Ocean Currents
Arctic sea ice is melting. The summer thickness of Arctic icebergs is about half of what it was 50 years ago. This melting ice may someday cause changes in the world’s ocean currents.

Temperature increases, drought and flooding will affect people’s health and way of life, and cause the irreversible loss of many species of plants and animals. The ten hottest years on record have all occurred since the beginning of the 1990s. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the strong warming of the last 50 years cannot be explained by natural climate variations alone, but requires the inclusion of the effects of human emissions. Much of the observed rise in sea-level (10 – 20 cm) during the 20th century may be related to this increase in global mean temperatures. Current climate models predict that global temperatures will rise by a further 1.4 to 5.8° C by the end of the 21st century. Global mean sea levels are also predicted to rise by 9 to 88 cm by 2100.

What climate changes are expected for the future?

Scientists project for the next century that, without specific policy changes:

* global mean temperature should increase by between 1.4 and 5.8°C (2.5 to 10°F)
* the Northern Hemisphere cover should decrease further, but the Antarctic ice sheet should increase.
* the sea level should rise by between 9 and 88 cm (3.5″ to 35″).
* other changes should occur, including an increase in some extreme weather events.

After 2100, human induced climate change is projected to persist for many centuries.
The sea level should continue rising for thousands of years after the climate has been stabilized

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