Global warming is the result of an increased atmospheric temperature on Earth. Although it can be caused by many factors, the atmospheric change resulting in the current warming trend is most often linked to massive increases in greenhouse gas levels, most likely due to human activity. Although no one can know for sure the scope and real future of the planet in the grip of global warming, some of the most basic consequences are potentially devastating to all of the planet's inhabitants. Global warming impacts may quite literally change the face of the Earth, cause extreme damage to both land and sea, and seriously disturb the everyday patterns of most life on the planet.
Earth is primarily covered by oceans, each supporting billions of plants and animals with correct chemical composition, tidal behavior, and temperature. Unfortunately, the world's oceans may be the first place where global warming impacts are really and truly felt. Increased acidity due to greenhouse gas levels will most likely cause frequent plant and animal extinction, as well as destroying vital coral reef systems. Since the oceans operate with a very clear food chain, even large marine species, such as whales and sharks, could be devastated by the loss of food sources.
The changing behavior of the ocean may also cause global warming impacts on land. As global warming increases, many experts believe that not only temperature level but sea level is expected to increase. Rising seas may become the source of considerable global warming impacts, as islands may be overtaken and coastal regions inundated by floods and higher seas. Combined with temperature increase, many climatologists suggest that higher sea levels will also give rise to more frequent and powerful hurricanes, tsunamis and flooding across the globe.
The polar regions of the planet are already facing serious global warming impacts. These glacier-filled regions are melting more each year, causing severe impacts on local wildlife. Polar bears in the Arctic are suffering considerable habitat loss as their ice disappears, leading many experts to believe the species may become extinct in the wild in just a few decades. The collapse of eons-old ice packs may also contribute to rising seas and cause mass flooding, according to some scientists.
Across land, increased temperatures will disrupt many agricultural growing cycles and possibly eliminate or severely reduce the production of some staple crops. Potato, avocado, and nut crops may already be experiencing global warming impacts, as may the enormous wine industry. Additionally, increased temperatures lead vital, nutrient-filled topsoil to dry out, potentially creating vast deserts across the world.
Additionally, some believe that rising temperatures will not only lead to increased deaths due to heatstroke, but also to increased infection rates for mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Mosquitoes, it turns out, will probably fare quite well in increased temperatures. Other insect-carried illnesses, like Lyme disease, may also increase.
This news is nothing if not bleak, and many global warming impacts are now agreed upon by a large majority of scientists. While all the effects may not be avoidable, most experts agree that a vast change to human existence is required if global warming is to be slowed enough to make a difference. Investing in renewable energy, switching over to sustainable practices, and living a green lifestyle are now considered imperative by many experts.