How Global Warming Is Affecting Our Environment

As global warming continues to ravage our planet, its far-reaching impacts are being felt in every corner of our environment. From the increasing prevalence of extreme weather events to ocean acidification, the damage is undeniable. These changes lead to sudden environmental shifts and innumerable consequences that have a direct impact on both local flora and fauna and humans.

Earth’s rising temperatures have caused the average acidity of our oceans to dramatically increase, known as ocean acidification. The main cause of this is atmospheric carbon dioxide, which enters the ocean through a process known as ocean uptake. This larger influx of carbon dioxide in the ocean not only has a direct impact on the ocean’s pH levels, but also on the delicate ecosystems within it. Ocean acidification has a cruel trickle down effect – sea creatures, such as corals and calcifying plankton, are more likely to be deprived of the calcium they need to build shells and skeletons as the ocean’s lower pH levels dissolve carbonate minerals. This means that many of the ocean’s most iconic species are suffering, threatening a major all-encompassing shift in the ocean’s ecology.

In addition to ocean acidification, global warming has resulted in the increased prevalence of intense weather events such as floods, droughts and severe storms. In more extreme cases, these events have brought about mass destruction and loss of both human and animal life. According to the 2016 World Disasters Report, 408,565 people were killed, over 2 million were injured, or affected and 23 million were affected by natural disasters over the last 10 years. Climate change has had a major role to play in this, with the warming of the air above the oceans creating the perfect conditions for intense hurricanes and typhoons.

Jumping continents, global warming is also drastically changing arctic regions. With ice sheets melting faster than ever before, sea levels are rapidly rising and inland areas such as Greenland are beginning to disappear into the ocean. Experts predict that these areas may soon become inhabitable due to the lack of fertile soil, an abundance of fresh water and an inability to provide adequate shelter. In addition to this, the lack of habitat in the Arctic means that wildlife such as polar bears, walruses and seals are losing their once safe habitats, leading to a rapid decline in their population.

We can also observe how global warming is having a huge impact on ecosystems and the flora and fauna contained within them. For example, in parts of Africa and Australia, drought is having a significant effect on entire ecosystems, with widespread seasonal fires increasingly wiping out major swaths of vegetation and harming animals. Trees are incredibly efficient at helping to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, yet because of deforestation, the Earth is only furthering its decreasing ability to slow global warming.

The effects of global warming can no longer be denied. With extreme occurrences such as floods and worsening droughts on the rise, it is imperative that we take action now to reduce and eventually eradicate these occurrences. We need to invest in renewable energy sources to replace carbon-emitting sources and put in place ecologically sound laws to protect both natural and human civilization from further destruction. We must work together towards preserving our planet and stop the effects of global warming before it’s too late.

Ernestine Warren is a passionate environmentalist, author, and advocate for the protection of the Earth's precious resources. She has written extensively on the causes and effects of global warming, providing accurate information to help educate people on how to combat this major global problem. With a background in science and biology, Ernestine has the tools to help develop solutions that meet everyone's needs while minimizing environmental damage. Her hope is that each person can do their part for the planet and make a real difference to help reduce climate change.

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