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of global warming are of concern both for the environment and human
life. Scenarios studied by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) predict that global warming will continue and get worse much
faster than was expected even in their last report.
Research by NOAA indicate that the effects of global warming are already irreversible. The IPCC reports attribute many specific natural phenomena to human causes. The expected long range effects of recent climate change may already be observed.
Rising sea levels, glacier retreat, Arctic shrinkage, and altered patterns of agriculture are cited as direct consequences of human activities. Predictions for secondary and regional effects include extreme weather events, an expansion of tropical diseases, changes in the timing of seasonal patterns in ecosystems, and drastic economic impact.
How Global Warming Affects the Ecosystems
Since global warming has such a profound impact on the earth's surface and oceans, it is not surprising that it affects the ecosystems of earth. Species depend on a fairly consistent habitat in which to live. Global warming changes habitats and endangers these species.
One of the habitats already being affected by global warming is the Polar Regions. Vast amounts of ice are melting at both poles. This makes it hard for the species in these regions to survive. For instance, polar bears' habitat is altered. Where once they could swim a short distance from ice floe to ice floe, that is no longer the case.
Now, the ice floes are so far apart that many polar bears drown trying to make the swim. According to the US Geological Survey, their numbers will decrease by half in the next forty or so years. The melting polar ice cap will be too much for most polar bears to survive. Global warming will eventually lead to their extinction if left unchecked.
Global warming is pushing a reported 2000 species toward the poles. The climate becomes warmer in the habitats the plants and animals are used to. They naturally gravitate towards a cooler climate that will match the earlier climate of the region they left. They were moving at a rate of 3.8 miles per decade.
Another ice habitat being ruined by global warming is the penguins' home in Antarctica. They have been declining in number rapidly for the last 25 years. In fact, in that amount of time, 33% of the penguins are gone. The global warming melting the ice has made their habitat inhospitable to them.
Global warming may soon make alpine meadows a thing of the past. Already, in Washington's Olympic Mountains, sub-alpine forests have come in and taken over where alpine meadows once lay.
In the last 60 years, species in alpine areas have moved up the mountains at a rate of 20 feet per decade. This leaves little doubt that global warming is having an impact on alpine areas.
The health of sea creatures in their habitats is also being threatened by global warming. In California, sea life is moving northward. This is a behaviour designed to keep the creatures at a temperature that is most like the one they are adapted to. They naturally do this as a means of survival. When all the water is too warm, they will have nowhere to go.
Other sea creatures are being put in danger of extinction because of global warming. This happens because the extra carbon dioxide in the air mixes with the ocean water. It changes the acidity of the water.
The sea plants and animals are then in an environment for which they are not suited. If this global warming goes on, many will not be able to survive. For example, 97% of the earth's coral reefs could disappear if there is a 3.6 degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature.
The destruction of ecosystems by global warming has begun. Since all the species are needed to support each other, the whole world will suffer when species are lost. Only a concerted effort on the parts of all human beings will help the situation.
... it to be short-lived as the optimal temperature for lobsters probably has a very small range. It has been thought for quite some time that global warming would increase the amount of corn, wheat, barley, and other grains that could be grown. Not only the warmer weather and the longer growing seasons were ...
... of global warming. However, global warming is not all good. It can cause the earth's covering to increase in density. With a denser blanket over the earth, less of the heat is reflected back into space. This upsets the delicate balance between heat and cold that is usually maintained on earth. It traps ...
... though, crops will suffer because of regional variations. The Great Plains are now more susceptible to drought, thanks to global warming. However, Canada will probably benefit from the added heat as farming will take a Northward shift. Right now, and in the near future, global warming does not seem to ...
... countries. The US especially is turning its back on the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol. The initiative is given lip service by the powers that be, but real progress has been slow coming. One way developed countries can receive credit under the Kyoto protocol is to help others. If developed countries ...
... report makes predictions of how the course of global warming will run in the future. After being produced by over 600 writers from 40 countries, the report was reviewed by another 620. The resulting findings were that global warming was indeed happening, and that human activity accounted for most of the ...
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