Effects of Global Warming
Environment is undeniably an integral part of human life and the life on earth as a whole. It comprises the overall sphere by which man and other living organisms exist. Environment is vital as it provides protection, shelter, food, and many other needs for survival. Environment is also the overall setting by which human being and other living organisms carry out their activities. In other words, it is the home of all living organisms.
In the early history of man, there was no observable or manifested environmental problem. Through time, generations and generations have come to pass and the need for survival was sustained by the environment for the past millions of years. In fact, the richness of the environment was more than enough to cater to the needs of the existing living organisms. However, developments were introduced to make the life and work of man better and easier. For every generation that has come, there is always a new change introduced. At the same time, the increasing population of man prompted the need to turn to environment for survival. Eventually, environmental resources were exploited. Remarkably, humans were engaged in activities for survival but at the same time left a drawback on the environment. At present, the world is faced with an immense environmental problem called global warming, which is thoroughly affecting the environment and the life of living organisms.
In the 20th century, the United Nations formed a group of scientist from different nations to study the climate changes and its effect on life and environment known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Kelly and O’Driscoll). From the studies of these scientists, the impending and actually existing environmental problem has been confirmed. Notably, global warming is defined as “the gradual increase in the temperature worldwide due to gaseous emissions known as greenhouse gases, and depletion of the upper atmospheric, or stratospheric ozone layer” (Liu 58). In other words, global warming is the phenomenon that heats up the earth’s atmosphere. This trend is the accumulated result of humans’ activities on earth. And generally, global warming affects all forms of life on earth, including the environment as a whole.
Causes of Global Warming
As previously mentioned, global warming is an environment phenomenon that has occurred due to detrimental activities of humans on earth. One of the remarkable causes of global warming is the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect refers to “the circumstances where the short wavelengths of visible light from the sun pass through a transparent medium and are absorbed, but the longer wavelengths of the infrared re-radiation from the heated objects are unable to pass through that medium” (“Greenhouse Effect”). The heating or the increase in temperature of the earth’s surface is caused by the trapped long wavelengths or heat energy in the atmosphere. As such, greenhouse gasses are great contributors for global warming.
Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), nitrous oxide, and ground level ozone (Liu). Carbon dioxide is the noticeable contributory greenhouse gas that causes global warming. CO2 can be created from burning of fossil fuel, deforestation of forests, and when humans exhale (Hopwood and Cohen). Aside from that, carbon dioxide may be released from dead plants which no longer participate in the photosynthesis process (Liu). Interestingly, carbon dioxide can be emitted by mobiles, manufacturing companies and even household appliances that are eventually adding to the load of CO2 in the atmosphere. The accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere effectively contributes in trapping the heat waves and eventually increases the temperature in the atmosphere (Hopwood and Cohen).
Another greenhouse gas is methane which is created when bacteria reacts with organic material in area where there is no oxygen (Liu). This process usually takes place in landfills and garbage dumps. Another gas contributing to global warming is the chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) (Hopwood and Cohen). CFC is a greenhouse gas as it helps in breaking down molecules when emitted in the atmosphere (Hopwood and Cohen). Recently, CFCs were found in aerosol cans, refrigerators, and air conditioners and was thereafter banned because of its environmental effect. Nitrous oxide, on the other hand, is the by-product of using artificial fertilizers in farming and by burning coal (Liu). The accumulation of these gases in the atmosphere could worsen the condition of the atmosphere and more heat energy could be trapped. Consequently, the temperature would gradually intensify and the environment and life of the living organisms would certainly be in peril. In fact, some of the effects of global warming are being experienced in almost all parts of the globe.
Effects of Global Warming
The effects of global warming are prevalent in most parts of the world. It is also among the global problems being faced and addressed by the international community. The remarkable environmental phenomenon like floods, hurricanes, storms, fires, that have struck different parts of the world and killed thousand lives are considered as signs of the global warming. Among these include the tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricane Katrina, hail storm, forest fires, and many others. Further, the rapid change in climate and the breakthrough of climate-related diseases are among the effects of global warming being experienced at present.
The most dramatic environmental effect of global warming is the rise of sea level (Marshall Cavendish Corporation). By 2100, the IPCC expects that the sea level would increase by 19 inches (McKinney, Schoch, and Yonavjak). This is potentially possible because the increase of heat in the atmosphere would eventually melt down the ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic regions (“Global Warming Effects”). Today, glaciers have actually decreased in Kilimanjaro and in other mountains since 1912, and are predicted to be totally gone by 2020 (“Global Warming”).
The increase of sea level indeed has terrifying consequences. Environmental catastrophe such as floods and storms would likely happen. Remarkably, the low-lying lands would subsidize as an effect of withdrawal of ground water and the reduction of the amount of sediment to maintain the level of land (Houghton). Islands such as Kiribati and Tuvalu have actually experienced the penetration of salt water in their groundwater (“Global Warming”). Aside from that, the trend of storm would be damaged (Liu). In addition, the rise of sea level would cause disappearance of beaches and wetlands and at the same time, increase the salinity of rivers and groundwater (Liu). Eventually, there would be a shortage of drinking water. Furthermore, agriculture would suffer because farmers cannot use salt water for irrigation (“Global Warming Effects”). Hence, global warming would potentially result to the destruction of environment and life.
In the recent environment catastrophe, Hurricane Katrina, the world was divided as to its main cause. While some believed it to be caused by global warming, other firmly believes that it did not. In addition, there was no enough evidence to establish such. However, it was taken as an example to present a clear evidence of how damaging global warming is (Baker).
Significantly, the balanced ecosystem would be in peril. Underlying the increase of sea level and the melting of ice caps, the life of living organisms existing in the affected areas is at stake. The polar bears, for example, are at risk as their habitat is gradually subsidizing. Other animals that are dependent on ice caps for survival would die while others may migrate to other habitats. Some areas would experience drought while forest would be unproductive due to climate stress (Houghton). The agriculture would also be in peril because of the dry season to be experienced and the intense temperature that cannot be tolerated by the plants.
As to plants and animals, adjustment may be drastic and difficult. Many animals would surely die because of the inability to tolerate the weather and the difficulty looking for food. According to the studies propounded, some animals have been observed to be hatching on unusual season, so are the plants. Many animals have also begun migrating while some species slowly died due to difficulty of survival (“Global Warming”). Unfortunately, unique species that live only in cold places would have difficulty in migrating and would eventually die as a result of global warming (“Global Warming”).
With regard to human beings, life would gradually change. Some would migrate while some would seek for alternatives for survival. Today, people in warm places would experience heat stress and other heat-related diseases (“Global Warming”). Aside from that, the infliction of malaria and dengue has become widespread as the weather continues to become even warmer (“Global Warming”). In addition, the water and food has also been greatly affected. The volume of drinking water has dramatically decreased while some plants are becoming rare. And as such, the production of rice and wheat has also decreased.
In addressing the problems being experienced at present, people have resorted to various alternatives for survival. Notably, many policies and activities have bee drafted and implemented in an attempt to decrease the emissions of greenhouse effects. Many technological devices have also been invented in order to reduce the use of electricity and further lessen the burning of fossil fuel. More than that, governments around the world have partnered with private corporations in fighting global warming by decreasing the use of environmentally abusive chemicals. As such, environmental laws have been intensified. As a result, people around the world have been made aware of the environmental problems being faced by the rest of the world. As such, each is contributing in preserving the environment.
Global warming has indeed been caused by various factors. The utilization of the environment and the human activities in the past centuries and the present activities of man have significantly led to the present global problem which is global warming. Meanwhile, global warming is the heating up of the earth’s atmosphere that would significantly affect the pattern of weather, ecosystem, and human life. Being a problem, some drastic changes in the environment would be experienced. Some of the effects are actually being experienced at the present. The drying of rivers and the destruction of some forests are considered as signs of global warming. In addition, the migration of animals and the changes in the cycle of plants also dramatically occurred. The environment has changed overtime while life keeps on adjusting. Human beings, on the other hand, are experiencing environmental phenomenon and are suffering from illnesses attributable to climate changes. From here alone, it can be deduced that global warming has an immense effect on environment and on human life.
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