The Seriousness of Global Warming
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Climatic change can be described as any large change that affects the global climate for a long-term period. One of the kinds of these climatic changes which have become a major concern of ecologists in the 21st century is global warming. Global warming is climatic change which leads to rise in temperatures specifically in the lower hemisphere. Global warming can be attributed to various reasons but the main cause behind this phenomenon has been identified as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), water vapors and other fluorinated gases. These gases form a greenhouse around the earth’s atmosphere, not allowing them the escape into space (NASA, 2006).
Global Warming: threat to the planet?
The major problem faced by climatologists has been to discern between climatic changes caused by human interference and other naturally occurring climatic shifts. Sifting from these various climatic events (natural or human induced); it has become apparent that the planet has been gradually warming up (Hughes, 2000). Hughes predicted four different scenarios that would take place as a result of global warming.
Physiological Effects of Global Warming
Global warming will result in an increase in the atmospheric content of CO2 , precipitation and an increase in temperature will result in changes in the metabolisms of living organisms affecting processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, tissue composition and growth (Hughes, 2000).
Effects on Distribution
An annual increase of temperatures by 3%u02DAC will also result in a gradual isothermal shift. This will cause many species to move upwards to more favorable climatic zones as a result.
The life cycle events of various species of plants and animals may be altered such as the decoupling of relationships.
Species which have high rates of growth in population or short generation spans might undergo a change in natural habitats (Hughes, 2000).
Health implications of Global Warming
The environmental changes such as the melting of glaciers, storms and hurricanes, rise in sea levels and the shift in farming areas has long been a concern of climatologists (Epstein, 2000). Apart from these climatic disorders global warming will also bring about many deadly medical and health concerns. Storms and hurricanes will results in floods which will in turn cause drought and starvation. There will also be drowning but these will only be the direct and short-term results of global warming. The more long term effects will be the spread of viruses and infectious diseases as a result of these flooding. These viruses or infections will not only become common among humans but also among crops which will be consumed by humans. The increase of moisture in the atmosphere will also lead to an increase in pests. Since various species will have moved upwards, other species such as rodents, mosquitoes will thrive. Diseases such as Dengue Fever, Malaria and Encephalitis will become major concerns whereas rodent related illnesses such as the “Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome” will also be a major health issue. Water borne diseases and other sources such as the factory smoke which is one of the causes of global warming will encourage respiratory diseases, cholera and gastro (Epstein, 2000).
The coming potential harmful effects of global warming can however be controlled. Drastic measures will have to be taken by the leaders of the world on a global scale. One way would be to work towards the prevention of the start of such diseases and to prepare vaccines and other medical facilities beforehand which would help tackle the situation. One vital step would be search for better sources of power and fuel which would not harm the environment and to search for ecologically friendly solutions.