Global warming, the long-term heating of Earth’s climate due to emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, is one of the most pressing environmental issues facing humanity today. This phenomenon has affected the world’s weather patterns in numerous ways, with far-reaching consequences for humanity and the environment.
One of the most significant changes related to global warming is the intensification of extreme weather events. These events include heat waves, floods, hurricanes and droughts, which have become increasingly frequent and intense due to global warming. For example, heat waves caused by extreme heat are more severe, lasting longer and leading to more deaths than in the past. Storms and hurricanes are also more destructive, due to the warmer atmosphere retaining more water vapor. This intensification of storms also affects other aspects of the environment such as hydrology, damaging infrastructure and leading to erosion of ecosystems.
Climate change has also caused an increase in average temperature, with global average temperatures rising by around 0.8°C (1.4°F) since pre-industrial times. As a result, polar regions are feeling the most influential effects of this, with polar ice and tundra thawing at a much faster rate than before. Glaciers are retreating, and the amount of sea-ice on the Arctic sea is declining drastically. The effects of this can be seen on both wildlife and human life, as habitats and resources disappear due to the rapid melting.
Furthermore, the global water cycle has become disturbed. As the atmosphere heats up, the amount of water vapor naturally has to increase, due to evaporation, to match the temperature and humidity. This causes clouds to increase in number and intensity, leading to more rainfall. The result is unprecedented flooding and damage due to extreme weather conditions, causing a domino effect on communities, environments and ecosystems around the world, leading to increased poverty, displacement and insecurity.
Overall, global warming has had immense effects on our climate and environment, leading to the intensification of extreme weather events, rise in global temperatures, and the disruption of Earth’s water cycle. It remains a reality that present-day humans face and must find solutions to, while preparing for the future effects of climate change. Governments around the world should adopt and enforce policies aimed at decreasing emissions, investing in sustainable energy sources, and preserving ecosystems. Allowing climate change to continue is simply not an option.