Global warming is the rise in average temperature of the world resulting from rampant de-forestation and loss of green cover, rising pollution levels and emission of harmful greenhouse gasses. The slow but perceptible rise in temperatures has already begun to impact the world in catastrophic ways.
Here are a few effects of global warming and climate change on the Earth.
- Rising sea levels – Climate change has a direct impact on raising sea levels and this can prove disastrous for many cities. In the last 100 years, average sea levels have risen by about 20 cm and this is expected to be more in the next 100 years. Cities like New York are already going through periodical flooding and by 2050 many others might require sea walls to survive. If the Antarctic and Greenland ice shelves melt and collapse, seas might rise by more than 20 ft, fully inundating large cities around the world.
- Torrential rainfall and thunder storms – Conditions that produce rainfall might remain static but because of climate change there will be large quantities of water and moisture in the atmosphere. Hence steady rainfall will be a thing of the past and heavy torrential rainfall will be the order of the day. With hurricanes and powerful typhoons becoming more common and frequent, the world will see an increase in flooding, rising sea levels and melting ice caps. Over the last few years there has been a marked increase in premium for those wanting storm and flood insurance in the USA.
- Droughts and heatwaves – While global warming leads to rising sea levels with disastrous consequences, a similar effect will be felt on land too with rising temperatures resulting in prolonged heatwaves and droughts. Over a period of time places on earth that are hot and dry will get hotter and drier and places with temperate weather with regular rainfall will get much hotter and drier. The record high temperatures being witnessed today around the globe and the occasional droughts and heatwaves will become more of a norm than exception.
- Changing agriculture patterns – Global agricultural will be strikingly impacted by global warming. For example some crops grow best in specific temperatures. When weather changes their output too will change. Rice which is the staple food of over a third of the world’s population will have a decrease of 10% for every 1 degree Centigrade rise in global temperatures. This can significantly upset the food chain and security. Till recent times this decrease has been partly offset by increased production due to major advances in rice technology but that too is now at the breakeven point.
These are some of the catastrophic effects of global warming which is already visible though partly at present around the world.