The effects of global warming are much more apparent now than ever before. Though climate change is a natural process, it is exacerbated by human activities. And one of the biggest contributing factors to climate change is greenhouse gas emissions, with more than 90% of the emissions being carbon dioxide and methane. Today, global warming has far-reaching effects and implications that can affect life on earth. In this article, we shall explore some of the effects of global warming.
Extreme Weather Events
Scientists have linked extreme weather events to global warming. These range from blistering heat waves and severe drought to tropical storms and flash floods.
Heat Waves and Droughts
Global warming has increased global ambient temperatures, and with higher temperatures boosting evaporation, it dries out the soil during the summer months. This means longer-lasting and more severe draughts. It is also important to note that the number of heat waves have significantly increased since the 1950s. Moreover, urban areas experience higher temperatures than the surrounding rural areas. This is called an “Urban Heat Island” effect and is caused by a variety of factors such as:
- Dark surfaces (roads and concrete)
- Additional heat given out by machinery (AC and chimneys etc)
- Impermeable surfaces that limit water evaporation
Storms and Floods
Increased heat leads to increased evaporation, and in turn, more moisture accumulates in the atmosphere. This causes rainfall to intensify. As temperatures continue to rise, scientists speculate that Category 4 and 5 storms will become more frequent. In addition to hurricanes, rising sea levels directly lead to flooding and storm surges. Since the 1900s, global average sea level has risen by about 21 cm (8 inches), most of which was triggered by anthropogenic activities. The rest of the rise is contributed by melting polar ice caps and glaciers
Temperature Drops and Frigid Weather
Though it seems implausible, More moisture in the atmosphere can lead to more intense cold spells. This is because warmer air can hold more moisture, and when temperatures get cold enough, this moisture can become snow, typically at higher altitudes. For instance, in the winter of 2019, the Alps experienced an enormous amount of snowfall, which was triggered by extremely moist and warm air masses. Meteorologists had discovered that the oceans were quite warm in winter as the preceding summer was hotter than usual. As a result, a lot of water from the ocean evaporated and the air currents took it to the Alps, leading to excessive snowfall. Global warming can also cause other weather phenomena to destabilize – such as the polar vortex. This also leads to cold spells and extreme frigid temperatures.
Main Article: Global Warming and Greenhouse Effect
Frequently Asked Questions on Effects of Global Warming
1. What are the effects of global warming on the climate?
Scientists have linked extreme weather events to global warming. These range from prolonged heat waves and severe drought to storms, flash floods and cold spells.
2. What is Urban Heat Island” effect?
Urban areas experience higher temperatures than the surrounding rural areas. This is called an “Urban Heat Island” effect and is caused by a variety of factors such as: dark surfaces (roads and concrete), additional heat given out by machinery (AC and chimneys etc). And impermeable surfaces that limit water evaporation.
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