9 Facts You Need to Know About Global Warming

Global Warming

The earth’s atmosphere has been heating up over the past few decades, and it’s not just your imagination playing tricks on you. That doesn’t mean you need to panic, though; climate change comes with both positive and negative effects, and there are plenty of ways to address the issues it causes while living your best life. Here are 10 facts about global warming that you should know as we move into the future together.

1) Rising Sea Levels

In an average year, sea levels rise by less than a millimeter. In a hot year, as 2015 was, sea levels can be 1 centimeter higher. Over time, though, all those small increases add up. Higher sea levels have caused flooding in coastal areas and threaten low-lying islands and nations worldwide. Many experts believe that a rise of just a few feet will eventually render coastlines uninhabitable. The cause? Global warming. Here are 10 facts you need to know about global warming's effects on sea levels.

2) Climate Disruption

Fact or Fiction? Climate disruption, also known as global warming, has become a hot-button issue. Politicians and business leaders across industries are responding. Here's what you need to know about it—and how you can help fight climate disruption. We have 10 facts for you that may be surprising. A few of them will probably surprise even us! Did you know that just 100 companies are responsible for 71 percent of greenhouse gas emissions since 1988? That’s according to an annual report by CDP, formerly known as Carbon Disclosure Project. The next time someone tells you that climate change is just a conspiracy theory, point them in that direction. The list is pretty scary, showing who’s making money off our planet’s destruction—while most people actually want solutions to slow down temperature increases by 2020. So here are 10 things everyone should know about climate disruption.

3) Agriculture Problems

More than half of Earth’s landmass is used for agriculture. So what happens when crops die off due to higher temperatures and extreme weather? We get food shortages, which translates into riots. The last time we saw an uptick in global-warming-related agricultural problems was in 2007, when world grain reserves fell dangerously low—and in 2010, Russia responded by banning grains exports. It’s hard to imagine that kind of thing happening in America... but then again, Hurricane Katrina taught us that New Orleans is not immune from man-made disasters. And with our population growing at a steady clip (we added 1 million people in 2013 alone), it’s easy to see how another food shortage could send local prices skyrocketing—with disastrous results for everyone involved.

4) Ocean Acidification

Rising carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere are causing ocean acidification, which is one of global warming’s most dangerous and least understood side effects. We’re polluting our oceans and killing marine life, and we’re doing it faster than we thought. The more we learn about how quickly things are changing, the more urgent it is that we reduce our carbon emissions. Every time you decide not to drive your car, you make a small step toward protecting marine life from climate change.

5) Temperature Extremes

One of the most immediate effects of global warming is temperature extremes. As temperatures rise, scientists expect that extreme cold events will become less frequent while extreme heatwaves become more common. Indeed, analysis of current temperature data shows that parts of Europe are already seeing fewer days with freezing temperatures, while regions in Australia are experiencing more hot days. Moreover, climate change models predict that winter temperatures will rise faster than summer temperatures—meaning it’s likely that cold snaps will be an even rarer occurrence in North America and Eurasia by the century’s end. On average across the globe, places might see 50 percent fewer extremely cold days than they did just 30 years ago—and twice as many extremely hot ones.

6) Infectious Diseases

Most people consider mosquitoes and ticks as merely a nuisance, but they can also transmit some serious diseases. According to Live Science, these insect-borne illnesses affect more than 700 million people each year and account for millions of deaths. Infectious diseases spread through bites include Dengue fever, yellow fever, malaria, and West Nile virus. Parasites such as hookworms live in soil or sand and enter human skin through bare feet; causing diarrhea that leads to malnutrition. Tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease can even affect dogs. Learn what infectious diseases you're at risk for based on where you live and how you spend your time outdoors.

7) Wildfires

In a warming world, wildfires are likely to become more frequent and destructive. Since 1970, global fire activity has been on a dramatic increase. Every year from 2000 through 2013 saw more area burned by wildfires than in any other year since 1979 when satellite monitoring began. In addition, wildfire seasons have been growing longer—most recently in North America and Europe—and firefighting costs have been rising sharply.

8) Droughts

Droughts are a natural part of our climate cycle. In other words, they happen from time to time and will continue to happen in one form or another, regardless of what we do. This means that if global warming leads to droughts it will be because of what we did, not because of a lack of control over our environment. Droughts also seem to have a strong correlation with warm-weather events such as hurricanes and thunderstorms. While these links aren't fully understood, it seems clear that changing weather patterns can change rainfall patterns in certain areas, leading to drought or dry spells if your region is normally wetter than average.

9) Rainfall Disruption

As we change Earth’s atmosphere through greenhouse gas emissions, we also disrupt rainfall patterns and weather systems. While it’s possible that we may end up with much more or less rain in certain regions of our planet, much remains unknown about how global warming will affect local weather patterns. In many parts of Africa, for example, reliable rainfall is essential for growing crops—but scientists believe that drought could become a serious problem as climate change makes rain patterns less predictable. Without greater research into what’s going on, farmers have little hope of adapting to changing conditions. Further study could help us better understand what kind of impact human activity has on worldwide weather patterns—and help us find ways to reduce those impacts without sacrificing productivity or quality of life.

Conclusion

Although global warming sounds like a harmless term, it's actually something that every person on Earth should be concerned about. From melting ice caps and rising sea levels to extreme weather patterns, there are many effects of global warming. Not only will it affect human populations but other species as well as their natural habitats as well. The changes caused by global warming won't happen overnight, but they will certainly come over time. If we don't make an effort now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stop polluting our air, water, and soil then we'll end up paying a much higher price down the road in terms of money spent, environmental damage, and health problems. It's time for everyone to do his or her part in reducing global warming!


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