Multi-Faceted Impacts and Solutions of Global Warming: The Unfolding Crisis
The Gravity of Global Warming
Global Warming is the gradual heating of Earth’s surfaces, oceans, and atmosphere. It is primarily a problem of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which traps heat and warms the planet. According to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), we have the largest share of fossil-fuel burning in America. As we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas for energy or burn and cut down forests to produce pastures and plantations, our atmosphere assembles and overloads carbon. Global Warming is affecting weather and temperature, sea levels, coastlines, ocean acidification, and more. The carbon we put in the atmosphere today will determine our climate’s future and our future generations. Some ways we can stop global warming are by using energy wisely, reducing transportation, and consuming less meat.
Impact on Weather Patterns and Ecosystems
Global Warming is making hot days hotter, rainfall and flooding heavier, hurricanes stronger, and droughts more severe. These climate extremes will be the most visible impact on our everyday lives. As humans, we use energy to run vehicles, heat our homes, conduct business, and power factories. It is making a significant difference to the landscape of our world. The frequency of large wildfires and the total area burned have been steadily increasing. The probability of fire occurrence is increasing because of drier conditions. “In 2002, Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon endured their worst wildfire seasons ever. The same year, drought created severe dust storms in Montana, Colorado, and Kansas, and floods caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage in Texas, Montana, and North. Dakota’ says NRDC. Wildfires threaten wildlife because there is no way to escape, their habitats are being destroyed, and bigger fires are changing the balance of the ecosystem.
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Rising Sea Levels and Coastal Threats
In addition, global warming is partly to blame for heavy storms and floods. Because warmer air can hold more moisture, heavier precipitation is expected in the years to come. No single storm or flood can be attributed directly to global warming, but climate conditions are at least partly responsible for past trends.
Rising sea levels are being affected tremendously, including the thermal expansion of seawater, melting glaciers, and ice sheets on land. For example, the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps is generated by higher temperatures and then eventually leads to melting glaciers. The result of this leads to a gain in sea levels, and a large rise in global sea levels poses many threats. When sea levels rise rapidly, even a small increase can have devastating effects on coastal habitats. As seawater reaches further on land, it can potentially cause flooding of wetlands. When large storms hit land, higher sea levels create bigger and more powerful storms that can damage anything and everything in their path. Large storm events, such as hurricanes, can dramatically alter coastlines and affect sea level rise as well.
Coastal regions are being affected because the increase in sea level along the coasts of continents is much more significant than the global average. Rising sea levels will have a serious impact on beaches which is a place that people love to visit and great locations for real estate. To live on the coast and enjoy pleasant scenery is the ultimate dream, but beachfront property is at risk from rising sea levels. Many coastal states have added sand to their beaches to offset shore erosion, and many property owners have elevated their structures in low-lying areas. Governments have looked into buying land and having residents relocate their future land because of the result of the erosion and potential harm to properties by large storms.
Warmer oceans affect weather patterns, cause more powerful tropical storms, and can impact many kinds of sea life, such as corals and fish. Warmer oceans are one of the main causes of rising sea levels. Krill, an extremely important link at the base of the food chain, is being affected by temperature because it reproduces a significantly smaller number when ocean temperatures rise. This disturbs the life cycle of marine animals like penguins, seals, and whales, which can cause predators to receive less food as well.
The impacts of ocean acidification are caused when carbon dioxide dissolves into seas and reacts with water. “Oceans have absorbed about 1/3 of the carbon dioxide produced from human activities since 1800 and about 1/2 of the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels”, stated Teach Ocean Science. Stress on marine life due to acidification leads to dying or severely affected ecosystems. When carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean, carbonic acid is formed. This leads to higher acidity
mainly on the surface.
Solutions and Proactive Measures
As humans, we are fully capable of making changes to our environment, and it desperately needs help. We can contribute to ending global Warming by simply cutting back on small things in our everyday life. We can save money and reduce the amount of pollution by getting more energy-efficient light bulbs, unplugging our computers, printers, and other electronics when we’re not using them, and washing clothes in cold water instead of hot water. This will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
Secondly, we can reduce transportation. Examples of this would be riding your bike to get ice cream on a hot summer day instead of driving to get it, carpooling to work with your co-workers, and riding the bus to get around town for a shopping day. Another option is considering a fuel-efficient vehicle, which would help consumers lower their expenses on fuel and pollute less. This would make a huge impact on the environment.
Lastly, we can make a difference by consuming less meat. The farms that give us access to meat use carbon dioxide to run the greenhouses, and as a result, they produce large amounts of gas emissions, massive volumes of water are consumed, and it causes a lot of pollution. There are several ways we can reduce the amount of meat we consume. Trying to eat one vegan meal per day, making a grocery list before going shopping, and choosing meatless alternatives on the menu when going to restaurants are great ways to cut down on meat.
Overall, global Warming has affected America for centuries. As global warming progresses, natural resources will be further depleted, and there will be risks of wildlife extinction, melting of the polar ice caps, floods and droughts, sea level rise, population risks, unsustainable land, and more. In order to stop global Warming, we need to take action. Risking depletion of this natural environment is happening. With a balance between protecting our environment and developing human technology, this country would be able to simultaneously progress the capabilities of mankind with the beauty and necessity of our natural environment.
- Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). (n.d.). Climate Change: Basic Information. Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-you-can-stop-global-warming
- Teach Ocean Science. (n.d.). The Impacts of Ocean Acidification. Retrieved from http://www.teachoceanscience.net/teaching_resources/education_modules/ocean_acidification/the_impacts_of_ocean_acidification/
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2023). Climate Change Impacts. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/climate-impacts
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). (n.d.). Causes of Climate Change. Retrieved from https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/