The 21st Century has definitely experienced various consequences of global warming. In fact, they are more strongly felt now than ever before. Unless the worlds population does something to stop it, these consequences would become even more devastating. While there are several phenomena which could be linked to global warming, some are more destructive than others.
Weather and Climate
There have been more frequent storms in recent years than a mere 50 years ago, with many of them falling within a category 4 or 5 on the Saffir Simpson Scale. Hurricanes have become stronger and stronger, with some even categorized as record-breakers, including the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and Hurricane Katrina. The hottest months have also been observed recently, with many of them leading to drought and wildfires. This is not something that can be observed in the United States alone, as the rest of the world is also suffering from severe droughts and flooding brought about by global warming.
Because of the rise in temperature, people have become more exposed to viral diseases, especially in poor countries where preventative measures are difficult to obtain. Moreover, there has been an increase in the number of people suffering from allergies and asthma brought about by global warming, with increased ozone smog production and other forms of air pollution. In addition, this surge in temperature has also caused many deaths due to heat waves. In Europe, about 70,000 people died during the 2003 heat wave while in the United States, 140 people died in the July 2006 heat wave. Children and senior citizens are the most vulnerable to the effects of global warming on their health.
The cost of hurricanes, flooding, and drought can be very high, considering that rebuilding infrastructures alone could amount to billions of dollars. Loss of lives, medical treatments, and cleanup expenses will add up to the expense, along with the giving of financial aid to employees who are unable to work because businesses have closed down temporarily or permanently. Flooding and drought also have serious consequences on agriculture as more and more produces are damaged and destroyed. With very little rainfall, agricultural regions in the U.S. and the rest of the world will certainly be compromised. All of these can result to huge financial setbacks for the country.
Global warnings major impact on wildlife is habitat displacement. Animals, such as the polar bears, would have to move to other locations to survive, which can be very difficult considering that they have been thriving in the same habitat for millions of years. Breeding grounds are dried up making it almost impossible for migratory species to breed. The drastic changes in climate and weather conditions have seen an increase in the number of plants and animals going to extinction, and could even get worse if the temperature will continue to go up. Some of the animals that have become extinct on Earth are the Golden Toad and the Harlequin Frog.
As it stands, global warming consequences will only continue to increase if something isnt done in the near future to slow its progression. No one wants to believe that such devastation is possible, but unless we take steps now, the earth cannot continue to sustain life as we know it today.