Melting Glaciers and Polar Ice Caps
Melting glaciers, polar ice caps and other frozen grounds are causing, and will continue to cause, a plethora of problems for mankind and all living species. The most pressing problems include:
- Rising sea levels, which lead to flooding and displacement and death of possibly millions of people.
Per the Inconvenient Truth website, "Global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide."
- Fresh-water polar ice caps melting into salt-water oceans alter the ocean gulf-stream patterns that regulate temperatures. This process leads to major temperature-pattern changes around Earth.
- The changing landscapes and higher temperatures in polar regions will endanger countless animal and plant species, and irretreivably alter the balance of the ecosystem.
- Ice caps and glaciers serve as sunlight reflectors, bouncing high-temperature sun rays back into space and away from Earth. When these natural structures have diminished greatly or vanished, Earth will be further warmed as the darker oceans absorb much of the sun ray heat.
As a result of global warming processes, extreme weather-related effects will continue to impact Earth:
- Droughts and heat waves - Per Environmental Graffiti.com, "Although some areas of Earth will become wetter due to global warming, other areas will suffer serious droughts and heat waves. Africa will receive the worst of it, with more severe droughts also expected in Europe. Water is already a dangerously rare commodity in Africa..."
- Hurricane intensity and frequency - Time magazine reported in September 2008:
"All these hurricanes in such a short period of time begs the question: are storms getting stronger, and if so, what's causing it? According to a new paper in Nature, the answer is yes — and global warming seems to be the culprit.
"Researchers... at Florida State University analyzed satellite-derived data of tropical storms since 1981 and found that the maximum wind speeds of the strongest storms have increased significantly in the years since... They believe that rising ocean temperatures — due to global warming — are one of the main causes behind that change."
"The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years," reports the Inconvenient Truth website.
Among the direct effects on mankind of global warming are:
- Homeless refugees displaced by flooding, hurricanes and drought.
- Increased hunger due to food shortages because of loss of farmable land
- Spread of diseases, such as malaria and lyme disease, due to the migration of disease-carrying insects with warmer, wetter weather and more standing bodies of water in the northern hemisphere.
- Economic hardships caused by catastrophic conditions, such as those in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
- War and conflicts over shrinking resources.
Global warming will continue to affect Earth through increased ocean levels which cause flooding, as well as altered weather patterns. Mankind will be negatively affected in a number of vital ways.
See other quick-reading articles in this series:
- What Is Global Warming?
- Global Warming Facts and Evidence
- The Causes of Global Warming
- Solutions to Stop or Slow Global Warming
For more detailed information, see: