Climate change increases substantially the likelihood of the occurrence of extreme weather events as well as their severity, whenever they occur.
Climate change refers to the change in regional or global climate patterns, particularly those that are apparent from the mid-20th century. It basically denotes the long-term alteration in the statistical distribution patterns or variation in average weather conditions. Some of the causes are variation in the intensity of solar rays received on the surface of the earth, biotic processes and various processes that result in the formation of Earth features. The changes are closely linked to the increasing levels of detrimental atmospheric resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels.
Effects of Climate Change
When weather patterns are disturbed and droughts emerge and intensify both in duration and frequency, the agricultural sector is adversely affected. Grasslands and crops either die off or fail to grow optimally due to the absence of adequate water. Livestock also does not feel well. Some marginal lands cease to be productive and hence become useless. Deserts become even drier resulting in desertification. Reduction in agricultural production leads to food shortage and starvation, malnutrition and deaths increase tremendously.
Reduction of forest cover
Forests are important in our lives; they absorb carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas playing a major role in global warming) thereby helping regulate climate change. They are homes to many animal and plant species. Effects on climate change vary depending on the type of forest. Boreal forests are particularly negatively affected as tree lines gradually retreat when temperatures increase. Tropical forests like the Amazon, featuring abundant biodiversity, are even more adversely affected by climate change. Even the slightest change in weather causes substantial extinction.
Disruption of freshwater ecosystem
A mere increase in population place a lot of pressure on freshwater sources characterized by drainage, damming, dredging, extraction, pollution, invasive species and silting. Climate change exacerbates the issue making it even worse. In mountainous regions, glaciers melt disrupting the freshwater ecosystem. Huge glaciers like the Himalayan normally feed many rivers and whenever global warming melts them in large quantities the rivers flood, increase the debris and become dirtier.
Negative effects on the economy
As temperatures increase overall people resort to spending more money as they use more energy to cooling their homes, adversely affecting their financial stability. Air pollutions also increase resulting in the occurrence of many diseases that necessitate medical attention. People in the hotter, drier low lying regions may also immigrate to higher-elevation locations in their search for better conditions. The migration causes tension and dispute among persons who already leave in the wealthier regions.
Climate change is caused by biotic processes, change in the intensity of solar radiation volcanic processes. Irrespective of the exact cause, their effects have far-reaching consequences on the inhabitants of low lying regions. The change can bring about desertification, reduce forest cover and crop yields leading to many human conflicts. Steps, therefore, must be taken (both at the community and national level) to reduce climate change.
By: Joni Kim