While the drastic effects of global warming has been discussed in many scientific circles, had their run on TV and even had major exposure through well-meaning (but sadly inaccurate) Hollywood films, it's a concern that has a broad political, economic, social and geographical significance to countries all over the world. Quite literally, for all of us, there is nowhere to hide, nowhere to run and we can't stop the climate from changing. It's just way too big for us.
How to recognize global warming
Whether or not it's brewing something good or something bad, Nature always tries to warn us through many signs. The slow process involved in global warming results in many different things and some of its signs include:
Melting of glaciers
Most of the mountain glaciers on our planet that have been monitored for the past 150 years are reportedly shrinking. The glaciers most affected by global warming those located in the lower latitudes and many of them are disappearing. If glaciers continue to shrink, it could affect water supply in areas that depend heavily upon mountain watersheds.
If the scenarios of global warming continue, most of the glaciers that still stand today will disappear by 2100.
Sea level increase is attributed to warmer temperatures, which in turn result to the melting of ice glaciers. Over the last 100 years, sea level has increased from 10 cm to 25 cm. Projections over the next hundred years indicate that sea level will rise higher, from about 15 cm to 90 cm. Based on the higher figure, that's about 3 feet.
Translated, this could mean that beaches lose about 50 feet of area for every foot of increase in sea level. Some islands may even disappear beneath sea water completely.
Heat waves and periods of weather that are unusually warm are also signs of global warming. These may come about with varying degrees of their severity and frequency, causing concerns in the economics and health on a global scale.
How global warming brings climate change and what it means to us
The earth's climate has always been changing, although not at an abrupt rate. There had been periods of warming and cooling in the earth's 4.65 billion-year history. Strange as it may sound to some, this is the reason why life became possible on this planet millions of years ago. Unfortunately, not all of the changes in climate brought about by global warming may be beneficial to many of us.
For one, global warming will raise the temperatures in some regions of the Northern Hemisphere, causing the melting of mountain glaciers. This means that areas that are currently experiencing light snow may no longer experience snowfall anymore. Snowlines found in mountains in temperate regions may also be higher and packs of snow will melt earlier than before.
Spring may be experienced earlier and temperatures during night time and in winter will rise. The world will experience a more humid atmosphere since sea water will have a higher rate of evaporation. With greater humidity, rainfall is expected to increase on average.
Storms will also occur with more frequency and intensity. Ironically, water in the soil will evaporate faster, causing dryness between rains. Regions that are already considered dry will experience more dryness. Some semi-arid regions in the African continent, for example, may suffer more while areas that depend on their region's mountain snow packs for irrigation will not benefit from earlier melting between growing seasons.
With warmer weather, some hurricanes will be more severe and winds are expected to blow stronger. It is also possible that wind patterns may shift. Extremely cold periods may be experienced as well.
The phenomenon known as El Nino may occur in more frequency and severity. This is expected to affect different regions in many countries. All in all, scientists will have some difficulty in predicting weather patterns.
With changes in climate brought about by global warming, health concerns and risks may also increase. Heat stress and diseases may become common in places that did not have any problems with them before.
Global warming is an issue that requires immediate action. Even plants and animal species are adversely affected by it. While many of the changes that occur in our planet are totally out of our hands, we have been direct contributors to events that have had negative effects on our environment. This is why many leading social and scientific organizations have urged nations to cooperate in the move to counter this worldwide problem before it's too late.