Potential Consequences of Climate Change

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of consequences that climate change will have on the Earth, both on regional and global levels.Because all processes lead to other processes, and all consequences are feedback loops will be formed and make matters worse.Some of the broadest and most threatening changes already prominent include:
  • Average global temperatures will likely rise by an additional 2.0-11.5°F by 2100
  • Global Sea level can be expected to increase by between .59 and 1.94 feet due to warmer water expansion by 2100.This does not take into account the prospected increase in the rate ice sheets and glaciers will melt, adding to the sea level increase.

The change in atmospheric temperature instantly sets more specific changes into motion:
  • Increasing global temps will lead to higher maximum temperatures, more heat waves, and fewer cold days of most land areas.
  • Heat stress and increased air pollution carries negative effects on human health.An increase in infectious disease has already been observed.
  • Warmer temperatures would bring longer growing seasons in some regions, which benefit farmers and economies, but the increase in temperature may harm natural ecosystems of the area, including the flora and fauna that live there.
  • Mountainous regions can be expected to see a decrease in snowpack, bringing undesirable impacts on fish population, recreation, hydropower and water availability to the regions.
  • As well as affecting natural ecosystems, climate change will drastically affect human systems and cycles as well—such as the agricultural cycles, transportation, health infrastructure and wellbeing, etc.

Another hugely prominent change that stems from the change in atmospheric temperature is the change in ocean temperature:

  • Melting Ice Caps will slow down the natural ocean circulation that brings warmer water from the Gulf Stream to the north and the cool waters from the Arctic to the south.This slowdown will dramatically decrease the regional temperatures of northern Europe.
  • Hurricanes are expected to become more intense as ocean temperatures increase, though this is debatable.
  • Developing nations will find themselves using large sums of money to avoid the consequences of changing climate, including construction in coastal zones and the development in new agricultural technologies.
  • Higher latitudes are already experiencing environmental changes, Arctic ice cover and glaciers are already melting, rapidly.
  • Arctic sea ice was 24% lower in 2007 than in 2005, and 40% lower than the long-term average.
  • Heat stress and increased air pollution carries negative effects on human health.An increase in infectious disease has already been observed.

In consequence to climate change, everyone and everything becomes a stakeholder in the state of the Earth.Different regions of the world are forced to deal with the consequences more than others at the present, but in the end there is little differentiation between the different stakeholders throughout the world.
  • Abrupt changes in climate have serious immediate effects on the organisms that live in the area.Ecosystems have a hard time adapting to sudden changes (i.e. the Dust Bowl in the 1930s).
  • The areas most drastically affected are most often the regions that have a tough time or the inability to adapt to shifts in climate. (i.e. Bangladesh is projected to lose 17.5% of its land if sea level rises 1m, displacing millions of people).
  • Several islands in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans are expected to disappear entirely, and many coastal regions will be at greater risk of flooding during storms.This threatens animals, plants, and human infrastructures.

As far as our own wellbeing goes, simply reversing these effects is the key issue in our best interest.The key issue to the human race is solving the problems that affect us most prominently, such as the issues of human health and the risk of population displacement.These are among many, but are at the top of the ‘most threatening’ list of climate change risks.

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