One of the most troubling ecological issues of the contemporary world is global warming. It is defined as an increase of global average surface temperature at an alarming rate; due to extra release of greenhouse gases, the temperature rose 0.6 to 0.9 degrees over the approximate span of the last century, and the pace of rise doubled over the last 50 years (Riebeek, 2010, para. 2, 9). The global warming is an extremely hazardous ecological phenomenon that can lead to disastrous ecological and social aftermath, which includes, but is not limited to, melting polar caps and sea level rise, heavier rainfalls and flooding, severe and frequent heat waves, extreme weather and natural disasters, destruction of wildlife, health problems, lack of food and fresh water (Union of Concerned Scientists, n.d.).
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One of the consequences of the global warming is severe and more frequent heat waves (Riebeek, 2010, para. 54).This means hotter summers, heavier droughts; hence desertification, more forest fires, more frequent and serious smogs and sandstorms, health problems such as heat strokes and many others (Riebeek, 2010, para. 64; Union of Concerned Scientists, n.d., para. 4, 5, 8).
Along with more intense heat waves, global warming will cause change in precipitation patterns (Riebeek, 2010, para. 54); this will lead not only to desertification of some regions but also to such natural disasters as hurricanes, heavy rains, storms and floods (Riebeek, 2010, para. 54).
The rise of global average surface temperature will also result in melting away mountain and polar glaciers (Riebeek, 2010, para. 57-58). The former means significant dearth of water in particular regions, while the latter will cause the increase of the sea level and permanent flooding of some lowlands.
All these weather problems will have dire consequences for the wildlife. Shifts in seasons will cause pressure on ecosystems, disrupting food chains: migrating animals will have to look for food earlier; the activity of pollinators such as bees will not mesh with blossoming of plants, affecting the reproduction and possibilities of survival of both. Moreover, warmer temperatures will extend the growing season (increasing the plants’ need in water) and provoke mild winters failing to “kill dormant insects, increasing the risk of large, damaging infestations in subsequent seasons” (Riebeek, 2010, para. 59-62). Some plants, insects and animals might also not be able to live at the new temperatures; an increase of the average global temperature by 1.5-2.5°C is expected to cause 20-30% of plants and animal species to die out (Riebeek, 2010, para. 62).
The aftermath of the global warming for the human society is also hard to overestimate. Smogs, sandstorms, heat waves will undoubtedly cause complications of health problems for many people, gravely affecting the issue of public health. Changes in wildlife, as well as disruption of reproduction of animals and plants, will damage food industry and cause lack of food for the population. Finally, permanent flooding of lowlands due to the increase of the sea level will force whole cities and regions to migrate to other regions and / or countries. Mass exodus, along with the lack of food and other exacerbated social problems, will lead to severe political results, causing poverty, famine, migrantophobia, escalation of violence, and many other dire consequences.
Therefore, global warming poses a grave danger to both natural world and human society. If not stopped or slowed down to acceptable levels, it will result in disastrous weather, destruction of animal and plant species, and major social problems.
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Riebeek, H. (2010). Global warming. Web.
Union of Concerned Scientists. (n.d.). Global warming impacts. Web.