The EFFECTS of Global Warming!
By James McCann & Caitie Metts

-"Global warming will be the greatest environmental challenge in the 21st century."
- Vice President, Al Gore.

Listed below are the most important major effects of Global Warming. The issue we face today is not just affecting climate change and the extinction of animals and our land, however as we will investigate here, there are a lot of issues that will effect US, the human race.

- Rising Sea Levels:
The effect of glaciers may be underestimated, however, as recent studies suggest that accelerated melting in
Alaska and the Patagonia Icefields since the mid-1990s has increased the combined contribution of just these two areas to 0.375 mm per year13,14. Sea-level rise will affect coastal regions throughout the world, causing flooding, erosion, and saltwater intrusion into aquifers and freshwater habitats. Even the modest sea-level rise seen
during the 20th century led to erosion and the loss of 100 sq km of wetlands per year in the U.S. Mississippi River Delta15.
- Floods:
Rapid melting of glaciers can lead to flooding of rivers and to the formation of glacial melt water lakes, which may pose an even more serious threat. Continued melting or calving of ice chunks into lakes can cause
catastrophic glacial lake outburst floods. In 1985, such a flood at the Dig Tsho (Langmoche) Lake in Nepal killed several people and destroyed bridges, houses, arable land, and a nearly completed hydropower plant4. A recent UNEP study found that 44 glacial lakes in Nepal and Bhutan are in immediate danger of overflowing as a result of climate change5,6. In Peru, a chunk of glacier ice fell into Lake Palcacocha in 1941, causing a flood that killed 7000 people; recent satellite photos reveal that another chunk of loose ice is poised over this lake, threatening the lives of 100,000 people below7.
- Deforestation
An increase in natural disasters will cause more forest fires. The CO2 released by these fires is incredibly detrimental to the environment. It is a cycle. Global warming is causing these disasters, and the disasters are causing for even more global warming. There is also a large amount of agricultural companies that are taking down trees to clear the space for industrial businesses more in land that coastal. Destroying the trees and forests, kills the habitat in which a lot of land animals live. So again, going back to the "chain" cycle, deforestation caused by global warming, will inevitably cause an increase in animal extinction and deaths.
- Economic Falls & Decreases
Its amazing just how much economists are predicting net losses will reach if global warming really takes off. If a country suffers from a flood then of course buildings will be destroyed. The economic costs of this are astronomical. Some countries are having to spend more and more money on flood protection, while small islands like Tuvalu are concerned about a high amount of migration. People will leave the counry if they are worried about floods and natural disasters hitting them. This will cause a loss of aggregate demand and thus a loss of overal economic profit. Also, if a small island coutry such as any of those in the carribean suffer a natural disaster from global warming then tourism will decrease. These places rely so heavily on tourism, it will hit their economic profits with intense downfall if they lost interest from tourists. Roads, airport runways, railway lines and pipelines, (including oil pipelines, sewers, water mains etc) may require increased maintenance and renewal as they become subject to greater temperature variation. Financial institutions, including the world's two largest insurance companies, Munich Re and Swiss Re, warned in a 2002 study that "the increasing frequency of severe climatic events, coupled with social trends" could cost almost US$150 billion each year in the next decade.
- Animal Extinction
Take for example the Polar Bear. Global Warming is melting the glaciers and melting ice constantly. One large concern that Al Gore has voiced along with many supporters against global warming and animal rights activists is that of worry for the life of animals that rely on ice and land that is being destroyed through global warming. With the ice being melted away Polar Bears are losing the habitat and now have to swim much further to get places causing more death. Mothers are not able to breed as much since there is not as much habitat per amount of bears. It is a growing concern a one we must not ignore. Other examples on land include any animal that lives near to the ocean. With rising sea levels and a higher risk for floods, their habitat and ecosystem will be destroyed resulting in a lot of deaths and migration.
- Increase in Poverty
One major thing you will discover as you examine the effects of global warming is the so called "knock-on" and "chain" effect. Often one effect will cause another and that will cause another. So in this case, global warming causes a rise in sea levels, which causes floods. Floods destroy homes and buildings and landscapes, thus cuasing people to become homeless and result in poverty. Floods will knock out peoples homes and destroy crops for people to make food. It is surprsing just how much damage water can really do, as we saw from the Tsunami in Thailand nearly 4 years ago. Global warming will cause for more potential in natural disasters, especially floods in those places with low sea levels and islands.
- Melting Glaciers
Habitat loss:
While many species are likely to be affected by changes in stream flow and sea level associated with glacier melting, animals that dwell on or near glaciers may be pushed towards extinction by the disappearance of their icy habitats. Far from being barren expanses of ice, glaciers are home to some of the most unique organisms and ecosystems on Earth. For example, the tiny ice worm spends its entire life on ice, roaming over glaciers at night, feeding on glacial algae, and occasionally being snatched up by a hungry snow bunting46. Even animals that do not live directly on glaciers can be severely affected by their disappearance. Kittlitz’s murrelet, for example, is a small, diving seabird that forages for food almost exclusively in areas where glacial meltwater enters the ocean. These birds are already in serious trouble; their global population (located mostly in Alaska) is thought to have plummeted from several hundred thousand in 1972 to less than 20,000 in the early 1990s41.
Water Shortage:
70% of the worlds fresh water is frozen into the form of galciers. This helps the ecosystems by releasing water during the dry seasons of the year. The glaciers melt in the tropical areas of the world which give us humans, plants, and animals streams to drink from. Freshwater is already becoming a limited resource and in 30 years or so, the populations of the world are likely to exceed the potential increase in avaliable water.
-Ocean currents
As the temperature of arctic water increases, it can lead to more extreme climates around the world, due to the fact that oceans serve as a heating a cooling system for the earth. The arctic waters flow in a zig zag motion through out the major oceans of the earth. So as these waters warm, the effects for both climate and wildlife can transfer to the rest of the world.
- Increase in Natural Disasters
With the increase of temperatures, the sea temperature rises, climate change is clearly having an impact on the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. Increase in floods, tsunami's, typhoons, tornado's, hurricanes, forets fires are some of the most heavily predicted natural disasters to reccur, due to global warming. Southern Europe, expected to become drier, Northern Europe would become wetter. In Britain, summer droughts in the southeast become more frequent and there would be more winter rainfall across the country, with more frequent flooding.
Sources:
http://www.csiro.au/files/files/pb4x.pdf
www.cnn.com
http://assets.panda.org/downloads/glacierspaper.pdf

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/15/eveningnews/main3171275.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_global_warming#Overview