Climate change is adversely affecting all parts of the earth. There has been a dramatic increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since the industrial revolution of the 19th century. The planet warms faster as more GHGs are added to the earth’s atmosphere. With carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions continually added to the earth’s atmosphere, the earth continues to warm at an increasing rate. Unfortunately, much larger changes to the earth’s climate are projected. Here are 5 (of many different) categories of climate change, all of which increase adverse impacts to people and ecosystems.

Atmospheric Changes/ Global Warming

Global warming is primarily caused by greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels. Essentially, rises in greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase the average temperature of the planet at a continuously higher rate; as the impacts and pace of global warming also accelerate. As the earth’s temperature rises, ocean temperature also rises, ocean acidification increases, and other adverse climate feedback loops are observed.

Consequences of global warming and related adverse climate feedback loops include: increases in extreme weather events of all kinds, increased severity of hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones, disruption of weather patterns; chaotic increases in rainfall and flooding in parts of the world, while simultaneously other part of the world experience drought, heat waves, and devastation to local agriculture, increases in algal blooms, and extinction of wildlife species and ecosystems. Read more about global warming here.

Arctic Warming

Melting ice and glaciers are prevalent in Arctic warming, and the consequences have worldwide implications including rising ocean water levels. Icebergs and other smaller ice formations throughout the sea are melting due to global warming, in addition to glaciers throughout the world and Arctic; adversely affecting the lives of marine wildlife species and ecosystems. 

Marine Changes

Fish and wildlife species’ diversity ranges and distribution are changing along with climate changes to the planet; atmospheric warming, global/ arctic warming, rising sea levels, composition changes in oceans, lakes, rivers, and more. Marine changes have also affected coastal ecosystems and communities, causing them to face increasing exposure to storms and ocean water floods.

Wildfire Increases

Wildfires are forecast to increase in frequency, duration, and range by up to 80% over the next 100 years. Increasing global temperatures will also increase the number and level of wildfires worldwide; while the increasing number of these fires will in turn contribute to a continued increase in global temperature. This is a diabolical adverse feedback loop of increased atmospheric greenhouse gases and global warming; a continuous circle of global environmental devastation.

Despite the seemingly unusual high frequency of the raging wildfires that took place recently, it is alarming that there are many more large wildfires predicted over the coming couple of years. In certain places (like California and Australia), the warmer temperatures, drier land conditions, and extreme dry gusty wind, are expected to expand the length, and increase the intensity of wildfires.

Thawing Ground

Thawing permafrost will release large amounts of potent greenhouse gas emission, such as methane, increasing global warming. Thawing ground is also likely to disrupt municipal building sectors, and other infrastructure on a regional basis; for regions where human activity and permafrost are both present. 

Greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase on a global basis, accelerating global warming. However, concerned people, countries, and cities, can help limit the effects of climate change, as seen in the cases of Green City Times sustainable cities.

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