Now You Can See How Climate Change Impacts Us Right Now
While global warming is an issue we’re all familiar with, we don’t often think about the immediate impact of climate change on our daily lives. The effects will vary by region, and even from season to season. However, when you stop to think about it, there’s some compelling evidence that can’t be ignored.
Reports Show How Climate Change Is Making Our Lives Worse Right Now
Climate change is not a distant prospect for future generations to worry about. It’s happening now. Climate change has already altered the planet and our lives in a host of ways.
Scientists have warned for years that climate change will disrupt the delicate balance of nature and that this disruption could lead to an increase in extreme weather events — like hurricanes, droughts, floods, wildfires, and heatwaves — as well as other consequences like food shortages and severe long-term drought.
While it’s difficult to say that any single weather event was caused by climate change, there is evidence suggesting that climate change could be making some types of extreme weather events more frequent or more severe.
Even if you’re not noticing any unusual weather where you live, you may be experiencing the effects of climate change through changes in your local environment.
Every day, people die from the impact of climate change. It’s not an abstract, distant issue. The issue isn’t even about what might happen to our children and grandchildren in the future. It’s about us. It’s about you and me.
Climate Change Has Real Consequences That We Can See And Feel
While the planet has experienced some climate changes throughout history, scientists say that recent warming is occurring at a much faster rate. This has led to extreme weather events like heatwaves, wildfires and droughts, rising sea levels and ocean acidification, among other issues.
Climate change can cause both human and natural systems to change in unexpected ways. For example:
- Ocean currents that help regulate our climate are changing.
- Sea levels are rising as the water warms and ice melts.
- Warmer temperatures are changing precipitation patterns and expanding deserts in some regions.
- Warming oceans are intensifying storms, putting coastal areas at risk from stronger hurricanes and typhoons.
- Melting glaciers are threatening freshwater supplies for millions of people around the world.
There’s no denying that the climate has already changed and that the climate changes have real consequences that we can see and feel. In fact, climate change has already led to an increase in extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts, and floods.
But what about the future? How will human-caused climate change impact us in the future?
The current level of warming is small compared to what could happen if we allow all the carbon dioxide currently in reserve, such as coal and oil, to be released into the atmosphere. With each passing year, our choices are having a greater impact on future generations.
Extreme Weather Events Are Increasing And Becoming More Intense
Here’s a word you’ll be hearing a lot more in years to come: “precipitation.”
The term refers to any form of water — rain, sleet, or snow — that falls from the sky. And it’s expected to become more extreme and more frequent because of climate change.
“In our lifetime, we’re going to see more precipitation than we’ve seen in our parents’ lifetimes,” said David Easterling, director of the Technical Support Unit at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centres for Environmental Information (NCEI). “We’re going to have more days with heavy precipitation, and those days are going to get even heavier.”
In its latest report on climate change, NOAA predicts that the global temperature will rise by 2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050. That may not sound like much. But it’s enough to affect weather patterns and produce significant changes in rainfall and snowfall across the country. That will put strains on water resources in some regions and subject others to flooding.
In general, extreme weather events are increasing and becoming more intense as Earth’s climate changes. That’s because as air and ocean temperatures rise, so does humidity. And more moisture in the air means more energy for storms and precipitation events to feed off.
Heat Waves Are Getting Longer, Hotter, And More Frequent
We all know the feeling: You wake up in the morning and it’s already 75 degrees outside and you can tell it’s going to be another scorcher. And you’ll be lucky if the temperature drops below 80 by evening, let alone down into the 60s for “cool” sleeping weather.
It’s a heatwave, and it’s happening more often.
A report from Climate Central examined how much more frequently these intense stretches of heat will occur if we continue emitting greenhouse gases at our current rate.
The group found that in the next two to three decades, “extreme heat waves” (defined as at least six days of temperatures topping 90 degrees) could occur about twice as often as they do now. By 2047, every summer will likely have more than 10 such heatwaves — a number that used to only occur one out of every four years.
According to the report, “the increasing frequency and intensity of heatwaves are one of the clearest signals of climate change.” Heatwaves are not only getting longer and hotter but also occurring more often throughout the year.
Heatwaves are dangerous for everyone but especially for young children, pregnant women, older people, and those who are sick or overweight.
In fact, heat probably kills more people each year than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and sharks combined. The effects of climate change — like higher temperatures — put communities at risk of illness and death from extreme heat.
Extremely High Temperatures In Certain Areas Are Causing A Spike In Heat-Related Illnesses
Heatwaves and extreme heat have always been occurring. However, climate change has resulted in more frequent and longer-lasting heatwaves over the past 50 years.
If you plan to be outdoors for an extended period, stay hydrated and wear light-coloured clothing.
The Centre for Disease Control recommends wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Lighter colours will help to reflect away some of the sun’s energy. It’s a good idea to wear a hat or to use an umbrella. Wear sunglasses that block out 99-100% of UVA and UVB radiation.
Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going outside. You need to reapply every couple of hours or after excessive sweating or swimming. Parents should apply sunscreen to their children, making sure to cover all exposed areas including ears, noses and lips.
When indoors during very hot weather, keep shades drawn and blinds closed during the hottest part of the day. Remember to turn off unnecessary lights and appliances because they generate heat inside the house. Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine during the hottest parts of the day, and take cold showers or baths to cool down.
You must drink water, but how much per day should you be drinking? The general recommendation is to consume eight glasses per day, but that number changes depending on your level of activity and where you live, age and weight.
Air Quality Is Being Impacted By Climate Change Which In Turn Impacts Human Health
As cities around the world continue to grow and pollute, air quality has become an increasingly important issue. While many factors contribute to poor air quality, one of the most serious threats is climate change.
Climate change is altering weather patterns around the globe, and these changes will strongly influence the health of our air. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, climate change is predicted to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050.
But what exactly is contributing to this impact? And how can we take steps to combat it?
Air pollution has been called “the biggest environmental threat to human health” by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Air pollution can affect every organ in your body and regularly contributes to a variety of diseases, including:
- Aggravated asthma
- Premature death in people with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions
- Reproductive problems
- Neurological effects
Air quality has been a growing concern worldwide. We all have an impact on air quality and the air we breathe, and it is important to understand how air quality can affect our health.
Climate Change Is Contributing To Increased Wildfire Activity, Drought And Water Shortages
As a global community, we can curb climate change. But it will take all of us working together to create the solutions we need to address this urgent issue.
Climate change is a threat multiplier. It increases the likelihood of severe weather events such as wildfires and droughts, which in turn put greater strain on local and national resources.
To make our world a safer place, we must reduce carbon emissions and invest in clean energy sources that are affordable and reliable.
The effects of climate change are already being felt. The planet’s temperature is rising, ice caps are melting, and weather patterns are changing.
But the most serious effects of climate change are yet to come.
The impacts of global warming on humans and wildlife — and how they will affect our economies — have yet to be fully understood.
Scientists say that wildfires could become more frequent, more intense and longer-lasting as a result of climate change. This means that where we choose to live, what we grow and how we feed ourselves all depends on the type of weather we get, now and in the future.
Climate change isn’t just causing more severe weather, it’s causing it to occur at the wrong time of year, with no advance warning. More frequent and severe fires are one of the most visible effects of climate change. There has already been an increase in these types of fires around the world.
Oceans And Coral Reefs Are Threatened And The Wildlife That Depends On Them
If you’re like most people, you probably think that the most pressing issues facing our oceans are overfishing and marine habitat destruction. After all, much of the ocean’s wildlife is on the brink of extinction because we’ve killed off so many of them and destroyed their habitats.
But there’s another threat looming on the horizon — one that has the potential to devastate marine ecosystems and hasten species extinctions. It’s ocean acidification, and it’s already having a major impact on coral reefs, which are essential habitats for many marine species.
Ocean acidification is caused by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reacting with water to form carbonic acid. This may not sound very worrisome at first — after all, humans have been putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for thousands of years through burning fossil fuels and changing land use.
Climate change is affecting the oceans and coral reefs in many ways. As the oceans absorb a significant amount of carbon dioxide, they are becoming more acidic.
Rising ocean temperatures are causing coral bleaching and disease outbreaks that lead to coral death. Warmer water also aids the growth of invasive species and algae blooms that compete with native marine plant life, disrupting the food chain.
Changes in nutrient availability lead to harmful algal blooms that deplete oxygen in the ocean, leaving fish and other organisms gasping for air. Rising sea levels also threaten coastal communities and habitats.
The ocean is also a source of food and livelihood for millions of people around the world. As it becomes less productive, these people will suffer from hunger and loss of income.
Climate Change Is A Universal Problem But It Hits Disadvantaged Communities Hardest
The reality is that climate change harms people around the world. But the people who are harmed most are those that have contributed least to causing the problem.
The poorest people on earth have the smallest carbon footprints per capita: they consume very little energy and often live in countries with limited fossil fuel reserves. And yet they are among those expected to suffer the worst consequences of climate change — from natural disasters to poor harvests — and are least equipped to cope with them.
Climate change is the defining crisis of our time. The science is clear: We are already feeling its impacts, and those impacts will get much worse in the coming decades.
We’re seeing record-breaking temperatures, increasingly severe weather events, rising sea levels and melting ice caps. And the poorest and most vulnerable communities across the world are paying the highest price.
Climate change is an issue that affects us all, but it hits disadvantaged communities hardest. Poor communities often lack the resources to adapt to rising seas, longer droughts, and more intense storms, or to recover from these disasters when they strike.
They also suffer from pollution caused by fossil fuel extraction and burning, which contribute to climate change.
When it comes to climate change, we’re all in this together. But unfortunately, some communities are more vulnerable than others and will bear the brunt of the effects of global warming.