Even a seemingly slight average temperature rise is enough to cause a dramatic transformation of our planet. Authors David Spratt and Ian Dunlop, both longtime climate researchers, warn that … According to the National Climate Assessment, human influences are the number one cause of global warming, especially the carbon pollution we cause by burning fossil fuels and the pollution-capturing we prevent by destroying forests. The study also predicted that 16 percent of Earth’s species would be lost if surface warming increased to about 4.3 °C (7.7 °F) above preindustrial temperature benchmarks. Sea life of all kinds relies on this feeding and mating frenzy, but the setting for grouper romance has to be just right. (And yes, it's really happening.) Indeed, as of 2015, acidification is believed to have cost the Pacific Northwest oyster industry nearly $110 million. Other likely impacts on the environment include the destruction of many coastal wetlands, salt marshes, and mangrove swamps as a result of rising sea levels and the loss of certain rare and fragile habitats that are often home to specialist species that are unable to thrive in other environments. How smog, soot, greenhouse gases, and other top air pollutants are affecting the planet—and your health. It worsens the health of people suffering from cardiac or pulmonary disease. This trend could possibly cause changes in the future such as increasing frost in certain areas. If you zero in on the years between 2011 and 2015, you see an annual average cost of $10.8 billion. "Even if we stopped all carbon dioxide emissions tomorrow, we'd still see some effects," Haq says. "The number of billion-dollar weather disasters is expected to rise.". Global warming could therefore affect the spread of infectious disease through its influence on ENSO or on severe weather conditions. A warmer, wetter world is also a boon for food-borne and waterborne illnesses and disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. Global warming is a phenomenon of climate change characterized by a general increase in average temperatures of the Earth, which modifies the weather balances and ecosystems for a long time. In many areas coral is also under stress from increased ocean acidification (see above), marine pollution, runoff from agricultural fertilizer, and physical damage by boat anchors and dredging. The IPCC AR5 presents a strong body of scientific evidence that most of the global warming observed over the past half century is very likely due to human-caused greenhouse … Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Have humans already caused a detectable increase in Atlantic hurricane activity or global tropical cyclone activity? Elsewhere around the world, lack of water is a leading cause of death and serious disease. 2. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2014 assessment, many land, freshwater, and ocean species are shifting their geographic ranges to cooler climes or higher altitudes, in an attempt to escape warming. A particularly important example is coral reefs, which contain much of the ocean’s biodiversity. You'll receive your first NRDC action alert and update email soon. There's no question: Climate change promises a frightening future, and it's too late to turn back the clock. These impacts extend well beyond an increase in temperature, affecting ecosystems and communities in the United States and around the world. The perceptible warming of Earth over the past 150 years has been caused by an increase in the emission of gases such as carbon dioxide, which amplify the greenhouse effect. Following are the major effects of global warming: Rise in Temperature. Melting of Glaciers. The current geographic ranges of plant and animal species have been established by adaptation to long-term seasonal climate patterns. The lowdown on the earth’s central environmental threat. Oh, wait . Some scientists argue that it should really be measured since 1750. We've already taken care of that by pumping a century's worth of pollution into the air nearly unchecked. Warmer winter conditions in New York in 1999, for example, appear to have facilitated an outbreak of West Nile virus, whereas the lack of killing frosts in New Orleans during the early 1990s led to an explosion of disease-carrying mosquitoes and cockroaches. Lesser known is the degree of global warming's direct impact on humans around the world. In the United States, hundreds of heat-related deaths occur each year due to direct impacts and the indirect effects of heat-exacerbated, life-threatening illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and cardiovascular and kidney diseases. Eight degrees Fahrenheit. Global warming will continue even if no more greenhouse gases were emitted starting tomorrow. "There are more hot days in places where people aren't used to it," Haq says. By 2100, it's estimated our oceans will be one to four feet higher, threatening coastal systems and low-lying areas, including entire island nations and the world's largest cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Miami as well as Mumbai, Sydney, and Rio de Janeiro.

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