Monday, April 13, 2020

Life Is Changing Essays - Climate Change, Global Warming

Life is Changing Global warming is the most urgent environmental problem the world is facing. Few, if any, trends are more important to our future than climate change caused by human activities. This change is not beneficial. This warming trend occurring because of the buildup of greenhouse gases primarily carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide- which is a direct result of humans and the Industrial Revolution (EPA, 2000). These gasses are emitted profusely into the atmosphere by factories, cars, and many other devices. As the suns rays hit the Earths surface and bounce off, the gasses trap the heat. This creates the rise in temperature. These warming temperatures have many negative effects on Earth, which also affect us. I believe there are three main categories in which these raising temperatures have an effect: glacial melting and water levels, plant life, and human and animal health. As the temperatures are rising, glaciers are melting. One of its main consequences is the rise in sea level. As the sea level rises, a few things are happening and in the next twenty-five to fifty years, the sea level is expected to rise a full foot. For starters, the coastlines of countries all over the world are slowly being covered and eroded away (Newmann, 2000). Coastal cities are being flooded and people are being forced to move inland. When flooding occurs, there is the chance of fresh water contamination. Changes in the sea level also cause changes in the precipitation patterns. All of these changes have effects on many things humans need and use. Drinking water, navigation, and hydroelectric power are just a few (EPA, 2000). While is seems that flooding might be the only problem, these changes are also responsible for droughts. The explanation for these two tribulations is simple. Increased temperature means increased evaporation. Heavy evaporation takes the moisture out of the soil creating a drought. However, when the clouds cant hold anymore moisture and it finally all gets rained out, there is a strong chance of flooding. Changes in the water in our environment can also severely damage critical habitats. Wetlands could be flooded into lakes or completely dried up (Newmann, 2000). Our precious habitats could be destroyed. Obviously, this also is effecting the plant life in these areas. Plant life is also suffering from the increase in temperature. During drought periods, the plants arent getting enough water. During floods, they can be washed away. With the new and varying temperatures, some plant species will not survive. Forests, if they survive, are drastically changing. The warmer, drier climates can turn the forests into pastures and grasslands. If the weather becomes wetter, the types of trees and plants that currently grow in our forests will change. Some plant species will die out or move and some will flourish. Since the temperature changes alter the types of weather in different places, there is obviously a shift in the areas in which certain plants grow. Agriculturally, this is a problem as well. The production patterns are shifting northward. As the soil is drying up, more irrigation is needed to keep produce growing (Adams, 1999). Increasing irrigation leads to decreased water supply. This is a big problem even in Ohio. Agriculture is a 4.4 billion-dol lar industry and the temperature rise plus the decrease in water supply could decrease the crop yields by thirty-five percent (EPA, 2000). With plant species dying off, shifting environments, and changing, animals eating habits are broken. Their habitats are different. If they can even survive all of the changes, they are going to have to completely readjust to their new environments. Between dynamic water and plant cycles, animals and humans are also going to have troubles. Human health is also destined for trouble. Just from a mere three to four degree temperature rise during the already hot summer months, the summer death toll will nearly triple. The added heat is detrimental to people with heart problems as well as increasing the likeliness of heat exhaustion and respiratory problems (EPA, 2000). Also, the increase in humidity will be bothersome to people with respiratory allergies. People with asthma and other lung diseases will be affected because higher temperatures increase the amount of ozone at ground level. Another

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