The Top 10 Worst Effects of Global Warming (Google / Sebuah Perjuangan !)

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Minggu, 2008 Desember 14

The Top 10 Worst Effects of Global Warming

Global warming is the long-term, cumulative effect that greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide and methane, have on Earth’s temperature when they build up in the atmosphere and trap the sun’s heat. It’s also a hotly debated topic. Some wonder if it’s really happening and, if it’s real, is it the fault of human actions, natural causes or both?

When we talk about global warming, we’re not talking about how this summer’s temperatures were hotter than last year’s. Instead, we’re talking about climate change, changes that happen to our environment, atmosphere and weather over time. Think decades, not seasons. The term global warming itself is a bit deceptive because it implies we should expect things to get hotter — not necessarily stormier, drier and even, in some instances, colder. Climate change impacts the hydrology and biology of the planet — everything, including winds, rains and temperature, is linked. Scientists have ob­served that the Earth’s climate has a long history of variability, from the cold climes of the Ice Age to temperatures as hot as an Easy-Bake oven. These changes are sometimes noted over a few decades and sometimes stretch over thousands of years. What can we expect from a planet undergoing climate changes?
Scientists studying our climate have been able to observe and measure changes happening around us. For example, mountain glaciers are smaller now than they were 150 years ago, and in the last 100 years, the average global temperature has increased by roughly 1.4 degrees F (0.8 degrees C) [source: EPA]. Computer modeling allows scientists to predict what could happen if the climate pattern continues on its current course, projecting, for instance, that temperatures could rise an average of 2 to 11.5 degrees F (1.1 to 6.4 degrees C) by the end of the 21st century [source: EPA].
In this article, we’ll look at 10 of the worst effects of climate change, including some immediate effects observed and some hypothesized through climate modeling.

Global Warming Effect 10: Rising Sea Level

Earth’s hotter temperature doesn’t necessarily mean the Miami lifestyle is moving to the Arctic, but it does mean rising sea levels. How are hotter temperatures linked to rising waters? Hotter temperatures mean ice — glaciers, sea ice and polar ice sheets — is melting, increasing the amount of water in the world’s seas and oceans.

Scientists are able to measure that melt water from Greenland’s ice cap directly impacts people in the United States: The flow of the Colorado River has increased sixfold [source: Scientific American]. And scientists project that as the ice shelves on Greenland and Antarctica melt, sea levels could be more than 20 feet (6 meters) higher in 2100 than they are today [source: An Inconvenient Truth]. Such levels would submerge many of Indonesia’s tropical islands and flood low-lying areas such as Miami, New York City’s Lower Manhattan and Bangladesh.

Global Warming Effect 9: Shrinking Glaciers

You don’t need special equipment to see that glaciers around the world are shrinking. Tundra once covered with thick permafrost is melting with rising surface temperatures and is now coated with plant life.

In the span of a century, glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park have deteriorated from 150 to just 35 [source: New York Times]. And the Himalayan glaciers that feed the Ganges River, which supplies drinking and irrigation water to 500 million people, are reportedly shrinking by 40 yards (37 meters) each year [source: The Washington Post].

Endangered Snow Bunnies
Warmer winters are affecting the lives of snow bunnies and athletes alike. Within a decade, the Chacaltaya Mountain glacier, home to the world’s largest ski slope, may disappear. The International Ski Federation canceled recent Alpine skiing World Cup events. American East Coast resorts also endured short seasons due to springlike conditions.

Global Warming Effect 8: Heat Waves

The deadly heat wave that swept across Europe in 2003, killing an estimated 35,000 people, could be the harbinger of an intense heat trend that scientists began tracking in the early 1900s [source: MSNBC].


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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