CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS EFFECT ON EARTH

The planet is warming, from North Pole to South Pole. Since 1906, the global average surface temperature has increased by more than 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius)—even more in sensitive polar regions. And the impacts of rising temperatures aren’t waiting for some far-flung future–the effects of global warming are appearing right now. The heat is melting glaciers and sea iceshifting precipitation patterns, and setting animals on the move.

While many people think of global warming and climate change as synonyms, scientists use “climate change” when describing the complex shifts now affecting our planet’s weather and climate systems—in part because some areas actually get cooler in the short term.

Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, rising seas, and a range of other impacts. All of those changes are emerging as humans continue to add heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, changing the rhythms of climate that all living things have come to rely on.

The “greenhouse effect” is the warming that happens when certain gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap heat. These gases let in light but keep heat from escaping, like the glass walls of a greenhouse, hence the name. humans have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than a third since the Industrial Revolution. Changes that have historically taken thousands of years are now happening over the course of decades.

EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON OUR FUTURE

The direct consequences of man-​made climate change include:

  • rising maximum temperatures
  • rising minimum temperatures 
  • rising sea levels 
  • higher ocean temperatures 
  • an increase in heavy precipitation (heavy rain and hail)
  • shrinking glaciers
  • thawing permafrost

The indirect consequences of climate change, which directly affect us humans and our environment, include: 

  • an increase in hunger and water crises, especially in developing countries
  • health risks through rising air temperatures and heatwaves 
  • economic implications of dealing with secondary damage related to climate change 
  • increasing spread of pests and pathogens
  • loss of biodiversity due to limited adaptability and adaptability speed of flora and fauna  
  • ocean acidification due to increased HCO3 concentrations in the water as a consequence of increased CO₂ concentrations
  • the need for adaptation in all areas (e.g. agriculture, forestry, energy, infrastructure, tourism, etc.)

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