Global warming is the rise of the average temperature of the Earth’s surface. From 1961 to 2003, there is a reported increase of 0.10OC. The presence and increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is attributed as the prime cause of this worldwide phenomenon. Global warming is inevitable and its effects on Earth have already been experienced. The lists below are ten of the deadly effects of global warming.
Polar ice caps melting and increased sea level. The immediate effect of global warming is the melting and possible disappearance of glaciers. If all the glaciers are melted today, the seas would rise about 230 feet. The present changes in tides have already sunk small islands around the tropics. Moreover, ice caps are good reflectors of sunlight. It they disappear, the ocean will become the remaining major reflector. The lands produced from the disappearance which are darker in color absorb sunlight, thereby warming the Earth more.
Increased tropical cyclone activity. Global warming speeds up vaporization of moisture from the Earth’s surface, thus increasing water vapor in the atmosphere and consequently the occurrence of more hurricanes. Yet, cyclonic activity may not be evenly distributed because of the difference in temperature gradient in both hemispheres. For the last two decades, major storms and flood disasters have been observed around the world, particularly in the tropical regions like South Asia and Latin America.
Greater occurrence of droughts and heat waves. Global warming increases the likelihood of occurrence and intensity of droughts and heat waves. Severe heat waves have already been experienced in Europe, and the worst was in August 2003 when mortality exceeds 35,000 deaths. Africa will receive the worst of it where water is already a precious commodity. Accordingly, water shortage in the long run may cause local and cross-border conflicts.
Increased freshwater flow. It was reported that from 1994 to 2006, there was an increase of 18% in the flow of freshwater into the world’s oceans. This is partly due to melting of the polar ice caps and partly due to the increased precipitation. The massive floods experienced in several countries is alleged to this trend as it furthers encourage accumulation of vapor in the atmosphere, particularly in areas already experiencing high rainfalls.
Increased carbon release. The ocean plays a major role in global warming since it is a huge absorber of carbon dioxide. If the ocean water warms up, it becomes less able to absorb carbon dioxide, which consequently let this greenhouse gas build up in the atmosphere.
Damage to biodiversity. The extensive effect of global warming to the ecosystem is manifested in ocean biodiversity. Warm water harms and kills algae in the oceans which, being on the top of the food chain, are the primary food for many fishes, crabs, shellfishes, and many other animals. Moreover, changes in ocean temperature modify prevailing current systems and encourage migration of fishes. Hence, global warming is a major threat to ocean life. In terrestrial ecosystems, global warming may lead to forest fires, damage to vegetation, and even extinction of some species.
Malnutrition. There is an expected increase in malnutrition due to global warming. One reason is its important impact to agriculture and food production. Global warming causes climate change as carbon dioxide level, temperature, and precipitation patterns are altered which affects the productivity of crops, particularly cereals, and much of these effects are on the negative side. Quite obvious, drought reduces overall consumption.
Health Issues. Accordingly, rise global temperature also increases the probability of diarrheal diseases, cardio-respiratory diseases, meningitis, and many infectious diseases. Scientists believe that one of the reasons why dengue and malaria has not been fully eliminated is global warming. The heating of lands, particularly in the northern hemisphere, forces migration of insects to the north. Along with their movement are the diseases and plagues they are carrying.
Migration and conflict. The reduction of natural resources like water and tillable land for agriculture caused by climate change may bring about migration of local and regional populations. Likewise, massive coastal and riverine flooding also causes the same thing to happen. When this happens, the relocation of large masses of people poses migration pressures and may exacerbate conflicts.
Economic strain. Much of the effects stipulated above have utmost consequence on the economy of any country. Droughts and hurricanes entail great worth of damage, so do disease control, conflicts settlement and biodiversity maintenance.