Global warming and its effects may have seemed abstract a few decades ago, but it is impacting human lives today and threatening to get worse in the future.
Polar ice and glaciers are melting, causing the sea levels to rise. Record high temperatures, droughts, and severe rainstorms are becoming commonplace, and all these are likely just “the tip of the iceberg” as scientists foresee more severe, dramatic and in some instances, irreversible impacts. The Climate Hot Map by Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) highlights the link between what’s happening now, and what is expected to occur in the future. The effects are everywhere, including your backyard.
Here is how global warming is affecting you
An increase in grocery prices
A United Nations panel in 2016 noted that climate change has an impact on global agricultural supply. According to IPCC, adverse weather conditions were followed by a spike in prices of cereal and food from 2007-2014. On a global scale, when groceries become suddenly unaffordable, the devastating effect can consist of widespread civil unrest. Climate change will result in lower wheat and maize yields, disrupting the food supply of Central America and Africa, according to experts.
Oceans acidifying rapidly
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia was hit by the worst coral bleaching ever recorded, in 2016. 93% of its entire reef (which is the size of 70 million soccer fields) was affected, and now, only 50% of the reef is alive. The rest is either dying or dead – due to lack of food and absorption of too much carbon dioxide. The greenhouse gas pollution is leading to rapid acidification of the ocean. Researchers reveal that the Florida Keys reef has lost 6 million tons of limestone in the past six years as the acid waters eat away at the corals. And that’s not all. There will also be death among fish, algae and other organisms in the sea.
Drinking water supply at risk
You’ve probably watched it on TV or over the internet, but the effects of global warming are far wide-spread than you imagine. According to the World Preservation Foundation, a third of global major rivers and lakes are drying up – affecting groundwater wells for 3 billion people. A few examples include the largest lake in Iran has disappeared, the second largest lake in Bolivia has dried up because of drought, and the largest lake in African, Lake Chad, has shrunk 80% in three decades.
Extreme weather phenomena
This includes unexpected, unpredicted, unusual, unseasonal or severe weather at the extremes of the historical distribution. In the recent past, extreme weather phenomena have been linked to human-induced global warming, with research showing an increasing threat from the same in the future. So, typhoons, cyclones, hurricanes, floods, drought, snow, and rain will all increase in their intensity of violence as a result of global warming – leading to more material damage, refuge, victims, and deaths.
Melting of the poles
Global warming causes the ice at the poles to melt, which in turn, increases the sea level and threatens to submerge small island states and coastal communities.
The global temperature rise carries disastrous consequences, endangering the survival of flora and fauna in the Earth – humankind included. It is the leading cause of climate change which is responsible for many negative consequences on biological, physical and human systems. Although climate change cannot be avoided, we can fight it through the application of both large and small scale measures that help slow it down.