What are the Effects of Climate Change?

There are a huge number of effects of climate change.

Already, millions of people are dying each year.

The latest reports predict that over 100 million people could die by 2030 if the world fails to take action.

Each year, an increasingly larger amount of people will be affected with over 90 % of victims living in developing countries.

From The Climate Reality Project

Increase in Natural Disasters

Climate change will not solely cause an increase in the average surface temperatures across the globe, a phenomenon known as global warming.

In reality, it will cause an increase in both the number and ferocity of

Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of 2005

Ten Hottest Years on Record

Even more alarming, the ten hottest years on record all occurred since 1998. The hottest of all was 2010.

In that year, hundreds of wildfires swept through Siberia and British Columbia, Canada.

It is clearly not a coincidence that the warmest years on record have brought forth the worst hurricane seasons, wild fires and heat waves ever seen.

There are many severe effects of climate change that will impact millions of lives

Environmental Refugees

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that there were over 42 million environmental refugees in Asia and the Pacific during 2010 and 2011.

These people were displaced because of rising sea levels, drought, storms, floods, and heat and cold waves.

There are now more environmental refugees than political and war refugees combined.

Unfortunately, experts predict that there will be over 150 million refugees by 2050.

Climate change will affect many regions around the world by increasing the intensity and frequency of several natural disasters

Extreme Weather

However, the effects of climate change include a change in weather patterns, precipitation, sea level rise, and wildlife.

A combination of changes in precipitation and weather patterns will bring forth droughts in one sector and great floods in a neighbouring areas.

This has drastic consequences on human life as well as ecosystems. It will even have a large impact on agriculture.

From National Geographic

Tornadoes

The intensity, frequency, and duration of tornadoes are increasing due to climate change.

In the United States, they cause billions of dollars in damages annually.

In passing, it should be noted that all the effects of climate change combined will cause hundreds of billions of dollars in damages in the upcoming decades.

Dust Storms

Dust storms, also known as sandstorms, will have tremendous consequences on agriculture.

Moreover, it will spread disease and pollution to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Dust storms are devastating to crops and will spread disease as well

Floods

Floods cause devastating damage and affect millions of people each year. With climate change, they are getting more destructive.

An example would be events that have unfolded in Zhejang province, China in June 2011.

The worst drought in 50 years has been followed by deadly floods. Over half a million people have been evacuated and a great number of crops have been destroyed.

Sadly, over a hundred people were killed in landslides. These extreme weather events are repeating themselves across the world and are getting worst each year.

Incredible floods in Pakistan and Australia have occurred not too long ago. In the 2010 Pakistan floods, there was an estimated 43 billion dollars in damages.

By the end of it, 20 million people were affected. In Australia, several incredible floods have occurred.

In recent years, there has been a drastic increase in floods around the world

Impact on Lakes

Yet another of the effects of climate change is the shrinking of lakes.

A decrease in precipitation caused by climate change has caused lakes to decrease in size.

A combination of the effects of climate change and population pressures has caused Lake Chad in Africa to shrink by over 90% since 1963.

As a result, 30 million people living in the region are now competing over scarce water resources.

Even worse, although Lake Chad was once one of the largest lakes in the world, it could disappear in about 20 years.

This has caused millions of people to immigrate to new locations. In many cases, children are forced to travel several kilometers on a daily basis in order to obtain drinking water.

Lake Chad has drastically shrunk in the last few decades, causing millions to struggle for water

Desertification

Mass desertification is occurring at an increasing rate and is one of the least known effects of climate change.

Millions of square kilometers of once agricultural land have become barren. Any lakes or rivers in its path have disappeared.

There are over a 100 countries, primarily in Africa, Asia and Latin America that are currently affected by desertification.

Desertification will decrease agricultural output in entire regions, causing serious food shortages

Shortages of Food and Water

Shortages of food and water will become commonplace in the future.

As the world population is growing, there is a higher demand for these vital resources.

However, agricultural output in many regions of the world is depleting because of drought, desertification, heat waves, wildfires, and changes in precipitation.

In addition, fresh water supplies are decreasing due to the melting of glaciers, the shrinking of lakes, and water contamination.

Shortages of food and water will become more rampant due to climate change

Extinction of Species

The mass extinction of species is one of the most troubling effects of climate change.

We humans have the technology to help us adapt to drastic changes in weather patterns but animals do not stand a chance.

Do not be mistaken, the climate has changed for millions of years. However, in the last few decades it has changed at such a rate that animal life could not adapt to it.

Evolution is a process that requires millions of years and life has a remarkable ability to adapt.

However, when it changes in mere decades as opposed to millions of years, all life on Earth is severely affected.

In fact, some experts predict that over 1 million species could become extinct by 2050.

It is estimated that over 1 million species could go extinct by 2050

Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is yet another effect of climate change.

The increasing PH of oceans due to carbon dioxide being absorbed will affect marine life at the bottom of the food chain.

As a result, the entire food chain is being affected and eventually, land animals that are dependent on fish will suffer as well.

In the worst case scenario, it is possible that ocean acidification will wipe out almost all ocean life.

Ocean acidification is responsible for coral bleaching which will have a significant impact on all surrounding marine life

Melting Glaciers and Polar Ice Caps

Both the melting polar ice caps and melting glaciers pose serious threats to human civilization.

The polar ice caps as well as glaciers around the world play an important role in regulating temperature by not only absorbing heat, but also by reflecting the sun's light (see albedo).

Moreover, glaciers play an integral role in forming the world's perennial rivers which are responsible for agriculture that much of the world population is dependent on.

Hence, if these glaciers melt, millions of people will have to struggle for water, and wars over natural resources may occur in the far future.

Additionally, when ice in Antarctica or glaciers in Greenland melt, they will contribute to rising sea levels.

Melting glaciers pose a serious risk to human civilization as they will decrease fresh water resources and will raise sea levels

Rising Sea Levels

Rising sea levels will inundate millions of acres of agricultural land which will just add to the declining food supply caused by desertification.

Furthermore, rising sea levels will inundate some of the largest cities in the world such as New York City, Shanghai and Amsterdam. Needless to say, Venice will be in hot water.

Nearly 100 million people live within 1 meter (nearly 3 feet) from average sea level and thus will potentially lose their homes.

The Dymchurch Wall is periodically raised in order to keep the sea from flooding Romney Marsh

Spread of Disease and Food Poisoning

An increase in temperature will also spread malaria and dengue fever as well as several other diseases.

Malaria alone could spread to millions of people in the near future and will have devastating consequences.

Moreover, it will increase salmonella outbreaks.

As aforementioned, climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of dust storms which will also spread disease.

The spread of disease and food poisoning is among the least known effects of climate change.

These mosquito nets offer protection from malaria-carrying mosquitoes at night

A Planetary Emergency

The effects of climate change are extremely important in today's society and will have a large impact on human life across the world.

In the future, wars over natural resources could result in millions or even billions of casualties.

Indisputably, climate change is mankind's greatest challenge and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer.

Please, do your part to help stop climate change.





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Melting Polar Ice Caps

Melting Glaciers

Rising Sea Levels

Wars Over Natural Resources

Floods

Tornadoes

Hurricanes

Go to Hurricanes

Dust Storms

Shortages of Food and Water

Shrinking Lakes

Malaria

Dengue Fever

Salmonella

Hottest Years on Record

Wildfires

Go to Wildfires

Heat Waves

Go to Heat Waves

Extinction of Species

Ocean Acidification

Go to Ocean Acidification

Desertification

Go to Desertification

Droughts

Go to Droughts

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