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Global Warming

By DelilahJane Mar 23, 2013 1843 Words
Global Warming
Throughout the years, many topics have been brought to attention and have caused many controversial discussions. Being one of them, Global Warming has been the number one controversial topic for decades. One main subtopic talked about has been the different types of “effects” Global Warming has caused on this Earth to go through. One effect is Greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases can stay in the atmosphere for an amount of years ranging from decades to hundreds and thousands of years. No matter what we do, global warming is going to have some effect on Earth. Another effect is diseases. As northern countries warm, disease carrying insects migrate north, bringing plague and disease with them. Indeed some scientists believe that in some countries, thanks to global warming, malaria has not been fully eradicated. Another effect is warm water and hurricanes. As the temperature of oceans rises, so will the probability of more frequent and stronger hurricanes. We saw in this in 2004 and 2005. Another effect is Economic consequences. Most of the effects of anthropogenic global warming won’t be good. These effects spell one thing for the countries of the world: economic consequences. Hurricanes cause billions of dollars in damage, diseases cost money to treat and control and conflicts exacerbate all of these. These here are just examples of what Global Warming has caused. With all these being said, Global Warming will continue to affect the Earth until major things are changed. With greatly reduced rainfall, more severe droughts and loss of soil fertility, food and water supplies would soon diminish, resulting in higher prices, famine, disease, malnutrition, starvation and, ultimately, death. Politically unstable countries or badly affected areas might descend into various degrees of anarchy, with governmental collapses and shifts in authority as those in control of resources become more powerful. Countries that still retain good food and water resources might be unwilling to part with these vital commodities or accept the millions of refugees that would seek new homes. Ultimately these consequences would be catastrophic. So what is the solution? Are we just being negative? Are there any positive effects of global warming? What about all the stupid global warming solutions. The ice cap’s melting is a four-pronged danger. First, it will raise sea levels. There are 5,773,000 cubic miles of water in ice caps, glaciers, and permanent snow (USA Today Scientist: Global warming could melt ice caps, eliminate half of Earth's species). According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, if all glaciers melted today the seas would rise about 230 feet. Luckily, that’s not going to happen all in one go! But sea levels will rise. Second, melting ice caps will throw the global ecosystem out of balance. The ice caps are fresh water, and when they melt they will desalinate the ocean, or in plain English – make it less salty. The desalinization of the Gulf current will "screw up" ocean currents, which regulate temperatures. The stream shutdown or irregularity would cool the area around Northeast America and Western Europe. Luckily, that will slow some of the other effects of global warming in that area! Third, temperature rises and changing landscapes in the Arctic Circle will endanger several species of animals. Only the most adaptable will survive. Fourth, global warming could snowball with the ice caps gone. Ice caps are white, and reflect sunlight, much of which is reflected back into space, further cooling Earth. If the ice caps melt, the only reflector is the ocean. Darker colors absorb sunlight, further warming the Earth. Flooding represents one of the most dangerous hazards to human settlements and is one of the most potentially earth-shattering impacts of global warming. As the climate changes, a warming of the seas generates ‘thermal expansion’. This is where warm water begins to take up more space than cool water, making the sea’s surface level increase. Thermal expansion has already raised the height of the oceans by 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20cm), according to National Geographic (Effects of Global Warming, National Geographic 1996-2012). Steadily melting glacial ice also adds significantly to the elevation in water surface level, and many low-lying or coastal communities and facilities will be under threat of extermination should the sea levels continue to rise. An increase of just a single meter (3 ft.) would submerge considerable sections of the U.S. eastern seaboard, while one sixth of Bangladesh could be lost permanently by a rise of 1.5 m (5 ft.), to name just two examples. The relocation of power stations, refineries, hospitals, homes and so on would become an expensive priority. Also, warmer air can hold more water vapor, increasing the level of rainfall and bringing flooding to inland areas As the planet continues to warm, dry areas of land that are already susceptible to wildfires are likely to be ravaged by even more frequent and destructive episodes. In 2007, more than 3,000 fires brought destruction to Southeastern Europe thanks to a long summer that created arid and parched conditions – a situation that would become normal as a consequence of the greenhouse effect. What's more, the carbon dioxide and ‘black carbon’ (a very fine soot) released by these large-scale fires together with the deforestation they cause further compounds the problem of air pollution – as the gases that help to create the greenhouse effect are supplemented and less mature trees survive to draw CO2 from the atmosphere. With ocean temperature being a key factor for hurricane formation, the consequences of global warming will inevitably include the increased generation of storms and hurricanes with greater power and frequency. The destructive power of hurricanes has increased by some 50% in the last 30 years, a figure that is closely connected with the rising temperature of the ocean (Animals Affected by Global Warming 1999-2012). Warmer water leads to greater evaporation, which in turn helps to not just prime the combination of hurricanes and cyclones but also to maintain their intense in action once existent. Although global warming does not directly influence the formation of tsunamis, they can be generated by events that are brought about by an amplification of the planet’s temperature. One example is the melting of ice sheets. Being extremely heavy, massive glaciers apply a considerable amount of pressure to the Earth’s surface underneath them. This waterfront decreases as the glaciers diminish, resulting in a ‘freeing up’ of tectonic masses that can lead to massive earthquakes and significant volcanic activity, both of which are capable of creating deadly tsunamis. . Simply put, warmer oceans make for more extreme weather including devastating storms. As suggested, with warmth comes disease. Climate greatly influences some of the most deadly and widespread diseases currently affecting millions of people across the world. With disease-bearing insects such as mosquitoes able to multiply in staggering numbers thanks to even small rises in temperature, global warming looks set to facilitate the spread of diseases like Malaria, West Nile virus and Dengue fever to parts of the planet usually untouched. The increased number of sick people could even overwhelm public health services – especially in poor or unprepared countries. The Deadly Dozen is a group of 12 diseases that have been identified as those most likely to spread due to global warming. It includes Avian ‘Flu, Cholera, Plague, Ebola and Tuberculosis (Global Warming And The Spread of Disease October 2010). Other sources of serious illnesses are exacerbated by the effects of pollution and the release of CFCs that harm the ozone layer. Loss of habitat for polar-ice edge communities such as polar bears is perhaps the most obvious consequence of having a warmer climate. Animals that are entirely dependent on cold environments will retreat to more northerly locations as the planet heats up – leading to encroachment upon other eco-systems and displacement of other animals from their natural habitat. A strong connection between oceanic warming, declines in reproduction and increases in mortality rates among seabirds, seals and sea lions has already been observed. Acid rain has also been identified as having an adverse influence. One example of this is the death of large amounts of snails in areas prone to acidic precipitation. Birds depend upon the snails as a calcium-rich food source and without a suitable replacement for this loss to their diet, lay eggs with a much higher amount of defective shells. The world’s oceans absorb roughly 30% of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide that seeps into the atmosphere, and so inevitably, as more fossil fuels are burned, ocean life will continue to suffer the negative consequences of global warming (Global warming fraud: Iconic polar bear on melting ice cap a hoax August 20122). One of the most critical changes brought about by global warming is the ongoing reduction of phytoplankton. These tiny plants are an integral food source for ocean life and are responsible for around half of the world’s photosynthetic activity. Essentially, they are the foundations of the oceanic food chain, so a reduction in their numbers creates a knock-on effect that ripples up the entire food chain, particularly affecting the predators at the top. Additionally, ocean acidification and warmer surface temperatures increase the dangers to many aquatic animals, particularly crustaceans, mollusks and coral reefs. Coral reefs are very sensitive to temperature changes, with many of them already observed to have bleached and died thanks to climate change. For land animals, they are driven from their natural habitats or normal migration routes by environmental factors could easily come into contact with human settlements, leading to many deaths among humans and already endangered animals. During the serious, recent droughts that struck Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, lions began to venture out of the park in search of prey, resulting in attacks on the already decimated Maasai livestock and even trapping some people in their homes (Kenya Lion Killings Spur Extinction Alarm, Innovations June 2008). Attacks on humans by tigers in India are on the rise as climate change affects mangrove forests in India's Sundarban region (Global Warming leads India tigers to attack village October 2008). Similarly, sharks are moving into new areas to find stable food sources, and some of these are heavily populated by humans. Experts say there are now more sharks in the waters off California and Florida than ever before. In conclusion, Global Warming’s effects are getting worse and more things are being caused because of it. Global warming is not something that only affects human beings, as we may mistakenly think. After all, when the surface temperature of the earth heats up, human beings are not the only ones who feel the change and also react in some way. Fighting global warming never has to be limited to major international initiatives. Even the tiniest effort towards conserving energy and avoiding the addition to greenhouse gas emissions will prove to have a compounded effect on the global warming problem. In the general population’s panic about global warming, it’s interesting to note that one good solution against it is actually sitting in everyone’s backyard—literally.

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