Effects of Climate Change


Natural Disasters

[extreme weather changes, causing violent storms or unnatural weather movements that cause major damage to society]

Ocean Currents

[ocean currents changing in temperature or salinity, due to the melting of icebergs that could change the overall temperature of the world as well as effecting the organisms in the ocean]
- The slowing of ocean currents will create smaller heat exchange which will give some areas much warmer and other areas much colder temperatures
- Ecosystems will have to adapt to a warmer world, the habitats and resources that animals and plants depend upon will change as oceans cannot distribute heat and resources.
-Because the Thermohaline Circulation, which is responsible for mixing temperature and salinity (regulates density of ocean water), is weakening due to the melting of glaciers, a dynamic sea level change will follow any change in the ocean circulation

Species Extinction

- most extinction today is "terminal" extinction: where the species becomes extinct without leaving behind any descendants
- can be caused by many natural factors (disease, predation, competition etc.)
- however much extinction that occurs today is related to the impacts of humans on the environment: overhunting/overfishing (predation), habitat alteration and conversion to farmland (competition for space), pollution, and general climate change

Melting of Ice


- two existing ice sheets: Antarctic and Greenland, which together account for more than 90% of the Earth's freshwater. If they were completely melted, the oceans would rise by 68.3 meters.
- currently shrinking because melting ice exceeds accumulation of ice from snowfall
- global warming and rising temperatures have caused the ice sheets to each melt .21mm/year for more than the past decade


[the process of becoming, or the spread of deserts]

- Connected to drought and deforestation
- Rising temperatures dry out areas of land, especially growing deserts
- New desert areas are formed and existing deserts spread


[destruction or undergrowth of forest areas]
- As temperature rises, there is an increase in the rate of evaporation
- The dry conditions make it more difficult for vegetation to grow
- Existing plant life begin to die off as well

More Effects:
- Ozone depletion
- effects on agriculture
- human health
reference: Climate changing our ecosystems