Homes may be torn apart, lives may be lost, and the world may end. One question weighs heavily out in the open, will the sun really shine tomorrow? Global warming, although a slowly progressing process, still poses a threat to the environment in the form of temperature changes. Even a single degree in temperature change can lead to worldly destruction. It is extremely important that people across the globe learn the real toll global warming takes on our planet, and how the devastating effects will last for many decades to pass until finally Earth becomes unable to provide for the needs of it’s inhabitors. Something as serious as global warming has been proven over and over again to potentially cause numerous devastating events. Simply put, global warming can no longer be ignored; the human race depends on it. Although global warming is not an immediate threat, extreme temperature changes cause the environment to become less able to sustain certain species of life because of the spread of climate-sensitive diseases, a decrease in natural habitat, and an increasing number of weather-related catastrophes.
Increasing temperatures pose an immense problem when it comes to the topic of climate-sensitive diseases. To begin with, climate-sensitive diseases are diseases in which the temperature effects different variables of the disease such as the spread of the disease, whether or not it is reoccurring, and how long the disease will last. A typical example of the effect of global warming on a climate-sensitive disease can be demonstrated with influenza. The flu is generally a winter-existing disease in North America however, in a tropical climate influenza is present all year round. With minor temperature increases, many areas in North America will have environmental changes quite similar to those of the tropics and thus, influenza all year round! As for the unfortunate souls living in flooded areas, evacuation methods force families into overly crowded and unsanitary conditions prone to mold and disease carrying insects (Manning 2007). The more flooding that occurs, the more risk of malaria carried by mosquitos. In the other corner of the court, drought brings with it many respitory diseases such as asthma due to increasing winds formed over warm bodies of water that transport sand particles caused by the drought as well as large amounts of pollen collected from the augmented plant life (NWF 2011).
As if health problems weren’t a big enough problem, global warming is also placing an attack on the environment! Warming temperatures are melting ice caps and the natural habitat that many species of life thrive in. Polar bears and penguins are feeling the extreme effects of the melting habitat first hand, but the second hand reprocussions are just as serious. Melting ice caps are causing the sea level to rise which is putting large amounts of land habitat literally under water (Climate Institute 2010). Global warming is taking the Earth from one extreme to the other. Drought is causing animal species to migrate to water, while flooding is causing many species to migrate to dry land. Also, warmer waters are the cause for coral bleaching, which kills the corals. Coral reefs are a huge part of marine biology, and a habitat to numerous species of fish and other marine life. Droughts cause byy global warming may dry upwards of ninety percent of the Earth’s wetlands which serve as breeding grounds for migrating animals (NWF 2011).
After numerous testing has been performed on different regions of the planet, it is proven that geographical features may play a distinct role in the vulnerability of a specific environment (Hattermann, Levermann 2010). Tropical regions are of some of the worst environments that are likely to be effected by global warming (Laurance, Carolina Useche, Shoo, Herzog, Kessler, Escobar, Del Coro Arizmendi 2011) Tropical environments provide roughly fifty percent of the streams, rivers and other bodies of water that are present on land which empty into the ocean(Schmidt 2010). These on land water sources not only support hundreds of different species of vegetation and animals on land, but they also support all the underwater marine life as well. Realizing that those environments are the ones most vulnerable to global warming, and what the destruction of such a crucial part of the globe would cause, is reason enough to think twice before carelessly emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (Shepardson, Niyogi, Soyoung, Charusombat 2011). All it would take is one catastrophic attack of global warming upon the tropics to set an imbalance all over the world. But surely, not just the tropical environments are being effected.
With numbers of people ranging in the tens of thousands now being effected by tropical cyclones, global warming threatens lives all across the globe. With both an increase the the rise of sea level as well as the intensifying hurricanes errupting all over the world, the real issue of weather-related catastrophes has now arrived with a bang (Mousavi, M., Irish, J. L., Frey, A. E., Olivera, F., & Edge, B. L. (2011). Global warming and hurricanes: the potential impact of hurricane intensification and sea level rise on coastal flooding. Climatic Change, 104(3/4), 575-597. doi:10.1007/s10584-009-9790-0). True, weather-related catastrophes has caused destruction since the beginning of time, but in this day and age with the resources readily availiable for extensive testing and research, it is apparent that the disasters are getting increasingly worse as time goes on. Storms are gaining strength and the wrath of the ocean is a real force to be reckoned with. Suffering and panic are evident, and one can only hope that the real life examples of the power of mother nature can serve as an eye opener showing the need for change.
Drought in Russia sheds a small amount of light on how serious major natural disasters can truely be. The heat wave that is currently taking over the Russian climate has cost their citizens at least fifteen-thousand lives and fifteen billion dollars due to the lack of water and the extensive fire damage (Foxx 2010). The small country of Pakistan has also dealt with serious consequences caused by flooding in the region. With fifteen hundred lives lost and 3.5 million children facing disease caused by the unsanitary environmental conditions that exist after a flood, people in Pakistan have also paid the ultimate price. China has also spent billions recovering from the flood conditions as well as successfully evacuating their people to safety while in Guatemala, a sinkhole caused by increased precipitation sank a whole entire building (Romm 2011).
The world is succumbing to the ever changing negative affects that global warming is responsible for. Until actions are taken to resolve the cause of global warming, the temperature will continue to rise. A single degree in temperature has the ability to destroy billions of lives. Global warming may be a slow process, but evolution is an even slower process. With the Earth unable to sustain life, climate-sensitive diseases, the lack of natural habitat, and the increase in weather-related catastrophes will ultimately lead to the desecration of life as we know it.
Climate Institute. Human Health. 2007-2010. 11 02 2011 <http://www.climate.org/topics/health.html>.
Foxx, Michael. Weather Catastrophes Linked to Global Warming. 30 09 2010. 11 02 2011 http://www.guilfordian.com/world-nation/weather-catastrophes-linked-to-global-warming-1.1658838.
Manning, Anita. USA Today. 23 05 2007. 13 02 2011 http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2007-05-22-climate-change_N.htm.
National Wildlife Federation. Effects on Wildlife and Habitat. 1996-2011. 10 02 2011 <http://www.nwf.org/Global-Warming/Effects-on-Wildlife-and-Habitat.aspx>.
Romm, Joe. Climate Progress. 4 01 2011. 13 02 2011 http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/04/munich-re-pielke-extreme-weather-damages-climate-change/.