Environmental Effects of Global Warming

Earlier we saw what global warming is and which are the greenhouse gases which cause climate change, today we will discuss how does global warming affect the environment?

Anthropogenic forces have lead to the observed environmental changes, consisting of sea level rise, changes in climate extremes declines in Arctic sea, glacier retreat, and subsequent desertification of the Sahara.

Glaciers and snow cover are predicted to continue their extensive retreat. Declines in Arctic sea ice vary. There have been suggestions that Arctic summers could be ice-free by 2025-2030. ‘Detection’ is demonstrating that climate has changed in statistical sense, devoid of any reason for that change. Detection doesn’t mean ascription of the detected change to a particular cause. ‘Attribution’ of reasons of global warming is the process of establishing the most likely cause for the detected change with confidence. Detection and attribution may also be applied to realistic changes in ecological, physical and social systems.

The Environmental Effects of Global Warming can be seen in the following attributes of the Environment:

  • Extreme Weather
    Rising sea levels make coastal flooding events worse. The huge increase in evaporation of water acts like a fuel for storms, exacerbating tremendous weather events. In arid areas, wildfires & droughts are exaggerated. Changes in rainfall are probable to show reduced precipitation over subtropical land areas, with increased precipitation at sub polar latitudes and even in equatorial regions. Fluctuations in regional climate are expected to include least warming over the Southern Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic Ocean and greater warming over land in northern latitudes. There can be an increase in the occurrences and rigorousness of weather events like heat waves.
  • Sea Level Rise
    Melting of glaciers and polar ice adds to sea level rise. With ice melting, it exposes darker ocean waters, absorbing more sunlight, thus heating the ocean more, and triggering a cycle of melting and heating. A warmer atmosphere leads to the planet's snow sheets, glaciers and freshwater & sea ice to melt at an accelerated rate.
    Widespread coastal flooding is foreseen with the persistence of warmer temperatures. Warming beyond the 2 °C target has the potential to raise the rates of sea-level rise subjugated by ice loss from Antarctica.
  • Ecological Systems
    The polar and mountainous regions of Earth are mostly vulnerable to global warming. A large extent of snow and glaciers act as natural air conditioners—as they are light-colored surfaces spanning over huge areas, thus reflecting a majority of the sunlight that hits them. When the ice melts, the darker surface beneath absorbs more sunlight. Speeding up the warming and melting known as a ‘positive feedback loop’.
    Gradual warming can have drastic effects on ecosystems. When crucial thresholds are crossed, small shifts in climate can change the way plants, animals, and biosphere interact.Many plants and animals survive only within a narrow range of climatic setting. When the climate zones shift, some plants and animals adapt and others perish.
  • Rain, Snow, Drought& Heat Waves
    There have been occasions where it was observed that due to Global Warming certain climatic attributes have shown peculiar trends. This happening is beyond the normal functioning of the climatic system which has been normally believed to have existed in the previous times. All the weather elements have gone haywire and have gone beyond the understanding of humans. Nature was never to be controlled but with aggravated human interference, nature has shown its own murkiness. This beating of the nature through impending rain, snow, drought or even heat wave has taken a toll on many and is getting stronger to have a higher and worse destruction.
  • Plant and Animal Life
    Not just humans but nature hasn’t spared the flora & fauna from its harsh beating. Even they have come under the influence of these unusual changes because of global warming. The whole floral and faunal communities are having a hard time to adjust to the new ways to nature and their recent habitat. Everything has been encroached upon and they have lost ways to keep existing and adapting to these new conditions. Animals and birds are made to migrate to more suitable areas to survive as their original habitat has been rendered unsuitable to live. Plants have changed their flowering and blossoming patterns due to changed climatic conditions. More and more indigenous species are giving way to non indigenous species. Micro – organisms have found extremely suitable conditions for their survival and thus causing problems for others.

Read More
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