It’s hard to imagine what will happen if nothing changes and climate change continues to get worse. Are there short term and long term effects or just one or the other? Unfortunately a majority of the effects are long term effects and something that can’t be fixed overnight. They would take years to correct, and by the time the atmosphere was fixed, there would still be evidence of climate change. There are a few consequences that would occur within the next 20 years, and would continue to get worse. Others would happen later. One might think, what’s the point? I won’t be here for forever, so it’s not my problem. Think about all the future generations, what happens if you decide to have children, do you really want to leave them with all these problems?
One of the biggest consequences, and something that is becoming evident now, is the increase in temperatures. This is a consequence that has happened over the years, and will only continue to get worse. By 2100, there is expected to be anywhere from a 2-11.5% increase in temperatures. The reason that this number is so broad is because it depends on the greenhouse gas emissions as well as where at on the globe the country is. Some places will only increase 2% whereas somewhere else might increase the full 11.5%. Even when looking at the United States, one can clearly see that the temperature change will vary from East to West Coast. So what does this mean? This means more heat waves in the future. It also means more days with higher temperatures. The increase in temperature will also start to melt snow, ice and even permafrost, all which will melt into the oceans. This picture below shows the increasing temperatures from current day to 2099.
Building off of the last sentence, the consequences will cause the sea level to rise. The sea levels rise when ice sheets and glaciers melt. The amount of which the sea levels will rise is ultimately unknown because it’s hard to predict the various weather patterns, the density of the of glaciers and ice sheets as well as other factors. The overall guess is that the sea levels will end up rising by 2 feet in 2100. The oceans will also become more acidic due to the gases in the air. Although this may not seem like a big deal-it is for marine life. With more acid in the water, the animals will have a harder time building their outer shells and bones, since Calcium carbonate won’t be present in the water. The acidification will also make it hard for reefs to form, thus causing their numbers to decline.
The last two consequences that I’ll briefly mention deal rain, snow and ice. The amount of rain and other storms will impact other areas more than others. Some regions will have a lot more rain and storms, whereas some may have less, even leaving some areas with no change, however most regions will see an increase in precipitation. The last consequence talks about the shrinking glaciers and ice packs, as well as the thawing of snow and permafrost. If this continues to happen, then it will contribute to the rising sea levels. Such details are in the paragraph above. Also feel free to visit http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/future.html to view more graphs and pictures on what the earth could potentially look like.
Think to yourself, is this something I want to leave for future generations? It’s not too late to do your part in helping slow climate change. There are small simple steps that can be taken, together, we can make a difference!