The rapid dwindling of summer Arctic sea ice has outpaced all scientific projections, which will have impacts on everything from atmospheric circulation to global shipping. And plants, animals and other species are already struggling to keep up with rapid climate shifts, increasing the risk of mass extinction that would rival the end of the dinosaurs.
Forest Service Tens of millions of trees have died in the Rocky Mountains over the past 15 years, victims of a climate-driven triple assault of tree-killing insects, wildfires, and stress from heat and drought.
Costly and growing health impacts Photo: Rising temperatures will likely lead to increased air pollutiona longer and more intense allergy seasonthe spread of insect-borne diseasesmore frequent and dangerous heat wavesand heavier rainstorms and flooding. All of these changes pose serious, and costly, risks to public health.
An increase in extreme weather events Photo: Global warming also creates conditions that can lead to more powerful hurricanes. Heavier precipitation and flooding Photo: Very heavy precipitation events, defined as the heaviest one percent of storms, now drop 67 percent more precipitation in the Northeast, 31 percent more in the Midwest and 15 percent more in the Great Plains than they did 50 years ago.
More severe droughts in some areas Photo: As temperatures have warmed, the prevalence and duration of drought has increased in the western U. Increased pressure on groundwater supplies Photo: The resulting dry conditions will increase the pressure on groundwater supplies as more is pumped to meet demand even as less precipitation falls to replenish it.
In California, water and wastewater utilities have an opportunity to significantly increase clean energy in the state's water sector. Growing risks to our electricity supply Photo: Reservoirs fill too early and water needs to be released for flood control.
Vegetation and soils dry out earlier, setting the stage for longer and more damaging wildfire seasons. Scientists expect the rate of melting to accelerate, with serious implications for future sea level rise.
Disruptions to food supplies Photo: Global warming has the potential to seriously disrupt our food supply, drive costs upward, and affect everything from coffee to cattlefrom staple food crops to the garden in your backyard.
Destruction of coral reefs Photo: NOAA As global temperatures rise, so too do average sea surface temperatures. These elevated temperatures cause long-term damage to coral reefs.
Scientists have documented that sustained water temperatures of as little as one degree Celsius above normal summer maxima can cause irreversible damage. Plant and animal range shifts Photo: The range of some warm-weather species will expand, while those that depend on cooler environments will face shrinking habitats and potential extinction.
The potential for abrupt climate change Scientists know that Earth's climate has changed abruptly in the past. Even though it is unlikely to occur in the near future, global warming may increase the risk of such events.
One of the most significant potential mechanisms is a shift in an ocean circulation pattern known as thermohaline circulation, which would have widespread consequences for Europe and the U.
The first change in the global climate, and what first alerted climatologists to the possibility of global warming was in Global warming is now accelerating the rate of sea level rise, increasing flooding risks to low-lying communities and high-risk coastal properties whose development has been encouraged by today's flood insurance system. Learn about global warming and the consequences to our environment from increased wildlife extinction rates to acidic oceans and polluted air. Short answer: Yes. Even a seemingly slight average temperature rise is enough to cause a .
We Need Your Support to Make Change Happen We can reduce global warming emissions and ensure communities have the resources they need to withstand the effects of climate change—but not without you.What causes climate change (also known as global warming)?
And what are the effects of climate change? Learn the human impact and consequences of climate change for the environment, and our lives. Scientific American is the essential guide to the most awe-inspiring advances in science and technology, explaining how they change our understanding of the world and shape our lives.
In California, seven cities have sued energy companies for misrepresenting the dangers of global warming, but a review of public records . But there are at least ten dangers of global warming. Events that to many may seem to be unrelated, can combine to make things progressively worse, with one danger feeding and reinforcing the next one.
In California, seven cities have sued energy companies for misrepresenting the dangers of global warming, but a review of public records reveals those communities may have done a little. Global warming is now accelerating the rate of sea level rise, increasing flooding risks to low-lying communities and high-risk coastal properties whose development has been encouraged by today's flood insurance system.