Effects of Global Warming

Global warming can be described as an average increase in the
atmospheric temperatures which has been evident over the last one
century and is projected to continue in the immediate future. Scientists
have argued that since the late 19th century, the average atmospheric
temperatures have increased steadily with the most significant increase
being observed in the last three decades. Although it is a divisive
subject, scientific studies and discussions on global warming have been
dominated by the theory of greenhouse gases and related human activities
as the main causes of global warming. The increased dependence of the
world population and economies on fossil fuels coupled with
deforestation has resulted into a steady increase in greenhouse gases
emissions. However, some scientists have argued that the observed global
warming is as a result of the response of the climate system to external
forces. These forces can either be as a result of human activities or
natural forces such as volcanic activities, solar luminosity and
variance in the position of the earth relative to the sun (David, p
163).
While the causes of global warming and climate change have dominated
climatic debates over the last few decades, the arguments have been
prompted by the evident and anticipated effects of the phenomenon. There
are numerous and devastating effects of global warming and climate
change, which includes physical and social effects. This paper looks at
some of the effects of global warming evident in the present times and
the future.
One of the most important effects of global warming is changes in
weather. Global warming has resulted into a climate change which is
evident by the changes in the probability and intensity of some weather
events. For example, there have been observable massive changes in the
frequency, amount, type and predictability of precipitation in different
parts of the world. While some regions have reported sporadic and
devastating foods, other regions have experienced a reduction in the
amount of annual rainfall (Laura, p 124). Studies have revealed that
there is a likelihood of increased changes of how and when precipitation
falls. For example, the equatorial regions are likely to receive more
precipitation while the subtropics will receive less. Additionally, over
the last half a century, there has been an increased incidence of
extreme weather conditions which has been attributed to the effects of
global warming. These include extremely cold nights, tropical cyclones,
storms and floods. There are also increased frequencies and intensities
of heat waves across the globe. This has increased the intensity and
length of droughts in different parts of the world. While some of these
changes in weather are beneficial to some regions in the short term, the
overall effects on the human society and the ecosystem have been
negative (Laura, p 124).
Global warming has also resulted into a massive retreat of glaciers in
the last one century. The cryosphere, which includes the Arctic and
Antarctic seas, Greenland, Alpines glaciers and other regions on the
early surface covered by ice have reduced significantly. It is estimated
that at the current rate of retreat, the arctic sea ice is likely to
disappear by the end of the 21st century. This will have significant
social and physical impacts on the earth. In addition to the submerging
coast lines, the increased temperatures and greenhouse gases emissions
has resulted into acidification of the sea water. This is because the
ocean remains the most important carbon dioxide sink. Thermal expansion
of water and the melting glaciers have resulted into rising sea levels
which is a threat to the modern coast cities and settlements (Mark, p
39).
Social and economic impacts of global warming are evident in the modern
world, and are projected to have more influence of human life in the
near future. Global warming and the resultant climate change have had a
huge impact on food production and agricultural activities. Increased
temperatures, extreme and inconsistencies in precipitation have
negatively affected agricultural activities. In the long run, global
warming will have a direct impact on food security and sustainability of
human life (David p 154). There are evidences that global warming and
the resultant adverse climatic conditions have over the last few decades
increased the number of individuals at risk of hunger. Additionally,
global warming and climate change will negatively affect economic
activities such as agriculture, affect water resources and create social
conflicts due to migration and competition for resources. The aggregate
social and economic effects of global warming have been referred to the
social cost of carbon (David p 154).
In conclusion, global warming and climate change has received a lot of
attention in the recent past. Although the debate on whether the
phenomenon is largely due to natural forces or human activity, the
effects are very evident. Over the last few decades, there has been an
average increase in atmospheric temperatures resulting into physical,
social and economic effects. Although most of the effects of global
warming have been experienced in the last three decades, it is
anticipated that the effects are likely to be worse in the second half
of the 21st century.
Works Cited
David, Archer. Global warming: understanding the forecast, Hoboken,
N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2012.
Laura, Vermon. Global Warming: It’s Causes, Potential Effects
Including Earth`s Radiation Balance, Radiative Forcing and More, ISBN
1276236352, Webster’s Digital Services, 2012.
Mark, Maslin. Global warming, Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press, 2002.
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