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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 Agriculture is Affected by Global Warming
When you think of global warming, you might envision dramatic scenes like hurricanes and melting glaciers. The truth is that something as commonplace as agriculture is already showing signs of the effects of global warming.
Some studies show that the news of global warming is not all bad for farming, at least not in the short run. While humans have changed many environmental factors by their activities, the short term effects of these changes often lead to better crops.
Because of global warming, temperatures obviously increase. This has some temporary benefits. For awhile, it will simply mean more time for crops to mature because of a longer growing season. This is especially true of regions where the spring and fall were once quite cool.
On the other hand, these higher temperatures can bring problems in other areas. In regions that are already warm, global warming will cause the plants to languish in the heat. Soil evaporation rates will be very high, leaving very dry earth. Add to that, droughts that will make both the soil and the air dry and might even lead to burning of some crops.
Global warming is sure to bring about changes in precipitation. This will lead to changes in the soil moisture. Especially with the severe weather predicted with global warming, rain will come down hard when it does come. This will lead to more than usual soil erosion. These factors greatly affect agriculture.
Strangely enough, all the extra carbon dioxide in the air that brings about global warming also has a fertilizing affect on crops. This type of fertilization is most helpful for crops such as wheat, soybeans, and rice. CO2 fertilization is a beneficial by-product to global warming.
However, this benefit may all be in vain. When global warming pushes ground level ozone to higher stages, the carbon dioxide fertilization is voided out by tropospheric ozone. These ozone levels are influenced by both emissions and temperature. The result is that when the climate changes, the ground ozone levels will rise as well.
There have always been many obstacles to farming. Global warming just makes them more intense. Now, it is even more likely that a farmer will face droughts, floods, heat waves, and hurricanes, to name a few. They will be harder to overcome than ever before and they will certainly be less rare.
The overall predictions for the US are neither all bad nor all good. Crops are expected to benefit from the effects of global warming in many regions for awhile. In some areas, 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 be a very dangerous situation for North American farmers. There might even be some positive effects. However, in the long run, nothing will be able to mitigate the damage that will be caused by global warming if it is not stopped.
More ArticlesBooks That Support Or Deny The Concept Of Global Warming
... there is no problem at all. Others speak of evidence of global warming, dangerous consequences, and solutions to global warming. Reading a variety of books on global warming gives a balanced perspective. Probably the most well-known book on global warming is Al Gore's book An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary ...
... have before. Energy Crossroads: A burning need to change course, is a documentary movie about the energy crisis. It deals with the amount of oil that will be left in the future and the different ways to overcome that crisis. However, a good part of this movie is devoted to a study of how energy issues ...
... warming by many different means. For one thing, a good forestry department can have a huge impact. The carbon dioxide that is one cause of global warming is eaten up by trees. If a country fosters the growth of its forests and does not allow them to be cut down indiscriminately, global warming will be ...
... of events on this planet. Yet, most scientists agree that there are drastic changes occurring that are due to unnatural global warming. The weather is getting decidedly warmer. For the most part, the United States has already warmed up some. In some places, the average rise in temperature is around four ...
... warming. Future technologies for cars, such as fuel cells, may ease global warming even more. Fuel cells change hydrogen fuel and oxygen into electricity. Then, the electricity is used to run the vehicle. This technology has already been used by NASA and is projected to help ease global warming in the ...
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