The months from March to May are known to be the hottest months of the year in the Philippines – making it locally considered summertime in the country. As we are currently in the middle of the summer season, one cannot honestly deny the intense heat that we are experiencing. However, it’s not just the heat that we should talk about. While we witness and feel hotter days, we also see how extreme weather changes and intense typhoons come our way – a feat that is unusual during the dry season in the country. Sadly, the reason why all of these are simultaneously being felt by us – and people all over the world – is because we are experiencing the effects of global warming.
When we talk about global warming, it refers to the continuous heating of the Earth’s surface, oceans, and atmosphere. Unfortunately, this climate crisis is known to be primarily induced by human activity due to the aggressive burning of fossil fuels that releases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Apparently, we are already experiencing the effects of global warming which experts consider to be happening rapidly in many forms.
Did you know that it was in the year 1880 that record keeping for global warming started? Since then, scientists have been gathering all the data available all over the world to record the progression of the rise in average temperature globally. Unfortunately, in 1981, it was reported that the rate of warming has accelerated to 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit (0.18 degrees Celsius) each decade. From here, scientists have then classified that modern global warming is caused by humans and its massive fossil fuel burning activities that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that would, later on, result in the warmth from the sun being trapped and rose to up to the Earth’s surface and air temperatures.
What are the effects of global warming?
Since we have already briefly discussed the causes of global warming, let us dive into the consequences of such. When it comes to global warming, it is not just the warming of the Earth that we should be concerned about. Hence, the term “climate change” has also been synonymous with the effects of global warming that we are witnessing now – or at least may expect to witness in the near future should we not act upon this problem with utmost urgency. With the Earth becoming hotter, it is expected that its corresponding effect would be more frequent and severe weather conditions that would, later on, be the cause of the melting of ice, warmer temperatures, disruption of our bodies of water and ecosystems, etc – few of the extreme effects of global warming that this article will seek to discuss.
1. Hotter temperatures
The effects of global warming are expected to change the temperatures in the world, primarily those belonging to already-dry areas or those countries which have proximity to the equator as it is projected that these areas will get even drier and experience hotter temperatures in the coming years.
Due to this, the notion of the chance of droughts occurring more frequently has emerged and is expected to set the stage for potential devastating wildfires. Moreover, adding to this problem are the findings from a 2014 research which states that subtropical regions will likely see fewer rainfalls.
2. Melting of ice
As the Earth becomes warmer, the unfortunate chain reaction to this is the rapid melting of ice on both poles of the planet. According to NASA, the unfortunate possibility of an ice-free Arctic Ocean during the summer season is likely to happen before the mid-century. As the ice melts, this would mean that there will now be more land-based ice that will flow into the ocean, contributing to sea-level rise. The problem here now is that sea levels are increasing at a rate of 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) per year over the world and the ice melts would definitely accelerate the surge that is expected to become more intense in the coming decades.
The melting of ice does not only present a huge environmental problem but also reveals the possibility of another global health problem. For instance, the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the US revealed that there is now less than 10% permanently frozen ground (permafrost) than there was in the early 20th century in the Northern Hemisphere.
Apparently, the thawing of permafrost could release long-buried microorganisms and viruses that can harm local communities that can, later on, construe a potential superspreader event. A prime example of such was recorded in 2016 when a hoard of buried reindeer carcasses thawed caused an anthrax outbreak.
3. Marine life disruption
Another effect of global warming is that our oceans become more acidic than ever. Due to humankind’s extreme emission of carbon dioxide, some of it is absorbed by the oceans which then triggers the pH of the water to decline and therefore causing the acidity of seawater to rise exponentially. This feat absolutely poses an immense threat to marine life because the calcium carbonate shells and skeletons that many ocean species rely on for existence are eroding as a result of the rising acidity. So, if ocean acidification continues, coral reefs are anticipated to become increasingly scarce in locations where they are now prevalent.
4. Extreme weather events
The occurrence of more intense weather events such as typhoons and hurricanes is expected to hit more and more areas frequently. Due to the continuous warming of our oceans, increased evaporation of moisture is being sent up to the Earth’s atmosphere, contributing to even more frequent and intense weather events such as hurricanes, snowstorms, and typhoons.
With hurricanes occurring more frequently and becoming stronger, this leaves a lot of people, particularly those leaving in coastal areas, shorelines, and illegal settlements to be ultimately vulnerable to flooding as a trickle-down effect of sea-level rise around the world. Furthermore, if the world becomes more exposed to extreme weather events, this would only worsen the underlying health problems existing within communities as disease-carrying insects and waterborne diseases incidences could skyrocket.
5. Risk of animal extinction rates
As we, humans, are not the lone inhibitors of Earth, animals do also feel the extreme effects of global warming and it places their survival at great risk. As the environment that the animal species inhabit becomes warmer and more prone to natural disasters, it forces them to be on the move in search of a more adaptable home. For instance, a study cited by NASA states that due to the simultaneous occurrence of global warming, climate change, pollution, and deforestation, vertebrate species are declining 114 times greater than they should be. Essentially, if the world continues to bear the effects of global warming, and areas for example that are originally cooler become warmer, animal species would be fighting for their survival more than ever in hopes of escaping the Earth’s warming.
The way forward: what can you do?
Although the effects of global warming are undeniably widespread with some effects trickling down more environmental and health challenges, we should not be disheartened easily and instead, empower each other to act swiftly regarding the issue at hand while there is still time.
There are a lot of things that we can do, regardless of how big or small, that could go a long way. Each and everyone one of us has a role to stop the extreme effects of global warming and it starts with simple awareness and deeds to create a huge difference.
We can all start by saving our electricity by turning off electrical appliances when not in use, refusing the use of plastics and switching to reusable bags, conserving water, and supporting products and companies that promote the conservation of energy or sustainable practices – like what Bria Homes can offer, for example. If you are looking to invest in a real estate property, Bria Homes does not only offer affordable house and lot properties but it also recently launched an environmental education program through the ‘Project Communitree: An Adopt A Tree Program’. Feel free to check out their website for more details about the project.
All in all, the journey toward mitigating the effects of global warming is expected to be a long and difficult one. However, if we continue to do our part, stay informed, and be eager to spread general awareness regarding its extreme effects, then we will be able to ensure a sustainable future for us and the coming generations.