A lot of attention and controversies have been generated by the increasing average temperature of the earth, otherwise known as global warming. Although a lot of people are becoming aware of the phenomenon and its effects, a recent Gallop Poll survey still showed that about a third of the global population has no idea about what global warming is. The number of people who are not aware of global warming is greater in developing than in developed countries. In order to win the fight against global warming however, theres a need for widespread public enlightenment, and a good place to start is by examining global warming and earth as they relate to each other.
Effects of Global Warming on the Earth
The global warming and earth relationship is far reaching and broader than meets the eye. In order to facilitate better understanding, these effects have been grouped into the following categories:
Physical/ Geographical Effects: there are numerous topographical effects of global warming on the earth which largely result from the increasing temperatures of the earths atmosphere. They include the following:
Melting Sea Ice: The glaciers and sea ice found in the arctic have long been used by scientists to measure the rate at which global warming is occurring. Statistics has shown that the rate at which glaciers and sea ice are melting is alarming. For example, in 2002, an ice shelf in the Antarctica (Larsen B) collapsed and disintegrated at such a rate that left scientists stunned. Also, according to NASA, the rate at which the polar ice cap is melting is now 9% per decade. Additionally, its been estimated that arctic thickness has decreased by forty percent since the 1960s.
Weather patterns: Global warming and earth effects are also responsible for the increased changes in weather patterns. These changes have different effects on different regions of the world. In some areas, global warming results in increased rainstorms with accompanying damages. In other areas it has resulted in more powerful hurricanes (due to the increased energy provided by warmer ocean water) and also in droughts and wild fires. Hurricane Katrina of 2005, the 1999-2002 National droughts and the wild land fire season of 2006 are all indicative of this.
Health effects: some of the health effects of global warming on the earths human population include the following:
Outbreaks of Infectious diseases & Food, Air and Waterborne Illnesses: Due to the increased temperature of the earths atmosphere, there has also been an increase in the outbreaks of these infections. For example, there has been an upsurge in the numbers of mosquitoes that cause malaria and other diseases due to a more favorable environment for their activities. Also, the flooding that results from global warming can cause contamination of water supplies particularly in developing countries.
Increased Occurrence of Allergies and Asthma: Drier, dust-laden air leads to increased occurrences of allergies and asthma. Toxin induced asthma will be on the rise proportionately as global warming leads to improper filtration of the air. This has always been a byproduct of photosynthesis but will be lacking as vegetation dies off.
These are just some of the global warming and earth effects. Others include extinction of wildlife, disruption of the climate and displacement of human populations. Knowing these effects is the first step in getting motivated to combat global warming.