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The effects to our lives are very small incrementally. However, it's all of those small increments added up that makes the difference in our lives.
For instance, some may say cars don't add to the problem. However, if that was true, then we should be able to lock ourselves in our garage, seal all vents, turn the car on, and stay in the garage for a couple of hours. Since we can't do that without dying, cars definitely do have an effect and add to the problem. We just can't tell right away because normally, all the pollutants from the cars go directly into the atmosphere. Thus, we barely if ever will feel the effects unless/until the number of cars and the number of days of car use get so great. Like in China, when they held the Olympics in 2008, their government put some sort of moratorium on all driving of cars, in an attempt to reduce their pollutant problem.
We can feel the effects with the oceans, also. As water levels increase, the beaches will be getting smaller and smaller, moving people more inland, away from the coast.
There are effects with the ozone layer, also. The pollutants from cars and factories don't only add to the smog we do experience in the cities everyday, they destroy the ozone layer. The ozone is what keeps the sun's radiation from baking/killing us. But, destroy that, then we get the higher temperatures worldwide. What many don't realize, though, is that means the polar ice cap will melt, as well as glaciers break off from land masses like Greenland, which only adds cold water to the warm water, making the warm water cooler. And, in many places in the world, the water current directly affects the environment of the land it is directed towards. So, enviroments on Earth can get cooler given a global warming effect.
In short, it wreaks havoc with our weather. For instance, while many of the anti-global warming pundits were talking about the cold winter many in the Continental USA were experiencing, Alaska was having one of its warming winters ever.
Not to mention, again, its the incremental changes that would be difficult to determine. For instance, I believe there may be an increase in the number of tornados, hurricanes, tidal waves, etc., worldwide. Is that affected by the global warming? And, if it wreaks havoc with our weather, how long is it going to be before we start to experience the effects with our food, which needs good weather for growth. We may not be able to "feel" the effects during our generation. However, the next generations will most likely be able to feel the effects. And, that's why we have the concern about global warming now, to curb the problem before it gets so great that we can't do anything about it.
Global warming is disrupting natures natural systematic process. Global warming is causing winters to be shorter and summers longer. Because of this natural disasters are more prone to happen on larger scales like typhoons, hurricanes, and blizzards. Which in turn puts peoples lives in danger as well the possibility of having to relocate. There is also the fact the global warming is melting glaciers and the Atlantic which is causing the water levels to rise. This causes many reconstruction damages every year as well as damage crops that grow near by.
When I was interviewing for a college, I got the chance to discuss with the dean about climate change (long story), and it was really fascinating. He said that climate change does not just refer to the world heating, but it refers to extreme changes on both sides of the spectrum, which means severely cold winters and severely hot summers. You might have experienced some of that this winter.
The problem spiked during the Industrial Revolution when carbon dioxide gas emissions greatly increased, and it is further increased today by deforestation and burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas, what we call a greenhouse gas, and when the greenhouse gases enters the atmosphere, it creates a thermal blanket that traps the heat and warms the earth. Right now, the average temperature is increasing, which can lead to a melting of ice in both the Arctic (Greenland) and the Antarctic. The level of sea water is also rising, because of the added water coming from the melting of land ice, and the expansion of sea water as it warms up.
Scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves
The IPPC predict:
North America: Decreasing snowpack in the western mountains; 5-20 percent increase in yields of rain-fed agriculture in some regions; increased frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves in cities that currently experience them.2
Latin America: Gradual replacement of tropical forest by savannah in eastern Amazonia; risk of significant biodiversity loss through species extinction in many tropical areas; significant changes in water availability for human consumption, agriculture and energy generation.3
Europe: Increased risk of inland flash floods; more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion from storms and sea level rise; glacial retreat in mountainous areas; reduced snow cover and winter tourism; extensive species losses; reductions of crop productivity in southern Europe.4
Africa: By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress; yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 percent in some regions by 2020; agricultural production, including access to food, may be severely compromised.5
Asia: Freshwater availability projected to decrease in Central, South, East and Southeast Asia by the 2050s; coastal areas will be at risk due to increased flooding; death rate from disease associated with floods and droughts expected to rise in some regions.6
If you go to http://climate.nasa.gov/effects, they have charts on current impacts and future predictions which should match what we are experiencing right now.
First off, the term Climate Change has come to replace Global Warming because people associate global warming with a literal rise in temperature when in actually some places will experience a significant drop.
The most detrimental human impact of climate change lies in our food system. The changing climate affects bees and agriculture production. There will be a decrease in food supply.
The shifting of climate also creates a more hospitable environment for disease carrying pests like mosquitoes. Worldwide incidents of malaria will increase.
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