Along with its anxiety-inducing effects, climate change also offers an interesting opportunity to consider fascinating, interconnected processes on Earth. The smallest to the largest components of the planet – from bacteria to volcanoes – all somehow feel the effects of a changing climate. Here are six of the most unexpected ways climate change impacts Earth
Desert bacteria dies
Desert soil may appear desolate and void of life, but it actually teems with bacteria. Bacterial colonies can grow so thick that they form sturdy layers called biocrusts that stabilize soil against erosion. A study of these biocrusts across deserts in the United States showed that different types of desert bacteria thrive in different temperature regimes. Some prefer the sweltering heat of Arizona and New Mexico, while others fare better in the cooler climate of southern Oregon and Utah. As temperatures become more erratic with climate change, desert bacteria may struggle to adapt, leaving desert soil more prone to erosion.
Volcanic eruptions explode
As glacial meltwater floods into oceans and the global sea level rises with climate change, the distribution of weight on the Earth's crust will shift from land to sea. This shift in weight distribution could cause volcanoes to erupt more often, some studies suggest. Evidence of this phenomenon has been detected in the rock record, with remnants of more abundant volcanic eruptions correlating with periods of glacial melt at several points in Earth history. Humans in the 21st century probably won't experience this shift, however, since this effect seems to lag by up to about 2,500 years.
Climate change will increase precipitation in some regions of the world, resulting in stronger-flowing rivers. Stronger river currents stir up more silt and debris, which all eventually flows into the ocean and makes the ocean more opaque. Regions along the coast of Norway have already experienced increasingly darker and murkier...
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