Our planet Earth is a living entity, and like all living organisms, Earth requires care to sustain a healthy existence, balance, and longevity.
#1 – Change in the weather; it triggers all the others
As the climate changes, a warming of the oceans and seas creates, thermal expansion; this is where warmer water takes up more space than cold water, resulting in increasing the oceans and seas surface levels. According to National Geographic, Thermal expansion has already raised the height of the oceans by 4 to 8 inches.
Regularly melting glacial ice also significantly adds to the rising in water surface level, and many currently sea level inhabitants and facilities will be under threat of eradication should the sea levels continue to rise. An increase of just a single meter (a little over 3 feet) would submerge substantial sections of the U.S. eastern seaboard, while one-sixth of Bangladesh could be lost permanently by a rise of 1.5 m (a little under 5 feet), to name just two examples.
Flooding represents one of the most dangerous hazards to human communities and is one of the most potentially consequential impacts of global warming.
Although some areas of Earth will struggle with flooding as a result of warming climates, other areas will endure devastating droughts and heat waves. Africa will suffer the severest of it, with more harsh droughts also expected in Europe. Water is already a perilously limited resource in Africa, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming will exacerbate the conditions.
As the Earth’s temperature continues to climb, dry areas, already susceptible to wildfires are likely to be ravaged by even more frequent and devastating incidents. In 2007, more than 3,000 fires destroyed parts of Southeastern Europe thanks to a long summer that created dry and parched conditions – a situation that would become standard as a consequence of the greenhouse effect.
What’s more, the carbon dioxide and black carbon (a very fine soot) created by these large-scale fires in conjunction with the deforestation intensifies the problem of air pollution. The greenhouse effect supplements the gasses that help to create, and only less mature trees survive to draw CO2 from the atmosphere.
With ocean temperature being a principal factor for hurricanes, the consequences of global warming will inevitably include increased formation of storms and hurricanes with greater strength and frequency. The destructive power of hurricanes has increased by some 50% in the last 30 years, a number connected with the rising temperature of the ocean. Warmer water also leads to greater evaporation, which in turn helps to increase the coalescence of hurricanes and cyclones, and maintain their vigor once existing. Simply put, warmer oceans make for more extreme weather including devastating storms.
A consequence of the larger amounts of humid air generated by global warming is that more severe weather will result. Research of the connection between climate change and storm intensity and frequency indicates that by the end of the century the incidence of major thunderstorms could rise by over 100% in some places. Not only that, but this increase would occur during the current stormy seasons and not at times when such storms might provide significant rainfall to arid areas. Thunderstorms are also a common way of starting the devastating wildfires.
#2 – Disease and epidemics
As temperatures in northern countries rise, disease carrying insects migrate north, bringing plague and disease with them. Some scientists claim, thanks to global warming, malaria has not been fully eradicated.
Climate greatly influences some of the most deadly and widespread diseases currently affecting millions of people around the world. Insects carrying diseases such as mosquitoes capable of multiplying in huge numbers as a result of small increases in temperature, global warming looks set to facilitate the spread of deadly pandemics like West Nile Virus, Malaria, and Dengue Fever to areas of the planet typically untouched. Recently the Zika Virus, carried by the same mosquito as Dengue Fever, spread globally including the United States. The expanded number of infected people could even overwhelm public health services, especially in less prosperous or unsuspecting nations.
Scientists have identified multiple epidemics likely to spread due to global warming. According to the CDC, these diseases include Avian ‘Flu, Cholera, Plague, Ebola, and Tuberculosis; the Ebola outbreak of 2014 – 2016 made its way to the United States resulting in, at the time Governor Chris Christie, to quarantine a nurse even after she tested negative. Exacerbating the potential for disease epidemics are the effects of pollution and the release of CFCs that harm the ozone layer intensifying other sources of serious illnesses.
#3 – Migration, conflict, and wars
It is possible that future decades could see increased struggles between governments and ethnic groups as dwindling resources lead to migration and conflict. Nations and factions would seek to control valuable, dwindling resources and provide safety and shelter for their people, perhaps at the cost of others. Simultaneously, previously densely populated areas would become uninhabitable due to heat or other factors, displacing millions. Semi-permanent camps may become longtime holding areas, or refugees may even suffer at the hands of unwelcoming newly nationalized countries. Relocations are already taking place. Mumbai’s population is estimated to increase by 7 million people by the year 2050 as global warming render villages uninhabitable or useless, either through flooding or drought. Land contamination would be an inevitable consequence of these changes in habitation and the availability of resources.
#4 – Animal attacks
Animals driven from their natural habitats or usual migration routes by environmental factors could easily come into contact with villages, leading to many deaths among humans and already endangered animals.
During the severe, recent droughts that hit Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, hungry lions ventured out of the park to find prey, resulting in attacks on the already decimated local herds and even confining some people in their homes.
Tiger attacks are on the rise as climate change affects the forests in India’s Sundarban region. Likewise, sharks are moving into new areas to find stable food sources, and people densely populate some of these. Experts claim there are now more sharks in the waters off Florida and California than ever before.
Additionally, loss of habitat for polar ice edge territories such as polar bears may be the single most obvious consequence of a warmer climate. The result will be a loss of biodiversity and animal extinction. Animals 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. There is already a strong connection between oceanic warming, declines in reproduction, and increases in mortality rates among seabirds, seals, and sea lions.
The world’s oceans consume roughly 30% of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide that seeps into the atmosphere, and so inevitably, as we burn more fossil fuels, ocean life will continue to suffer the adverse consequences of global warming resulting in an increasing death of sea life. One of the most critical developments brought about by rising global temperatures is the ongoing decline of phytoplankton. These small plants are an integral food source for ocean life and affect about half of the world’s photosynthetic activity. They support the oceanic food chain, so a reduction in their numbers creates a chain reaction that ripples up the entire food chain, essentially affecting the predators at the top.
Additionally, ocean acidification and warmer surface temperatures increase the dangers to many aquatic animals, mainly crustaceans, mollusks and coral reefs. The slightest change can devastate coral reefs that are very sensitive to temperature change, with many of them already observed to have bleached and died thanks to climate change. Most notably, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
#5 – Economic consequences
Most of the effects of anthropogenic global warming won’t be good. And these results spell one thing for the countries of the world: economic implications. Hurricanes can cost billions in damage, diseases cost money to treat and control, and national conflicts exacerbate all of these.
Relocating power stations, refineries, hospitals, homes, and vital infrastructure may become a costly priority. Countries that retain good food and water resources might be unwilling to part with these essential commodities or likely dramatically increase the price of exports.