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The Effects of Global Warming Will Be Devastating

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Global warming (climate change) is a topic discussed worldwide. A long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system has shown negative effects in many environments and populations. In the article, “Climate Change: How Do We Know?” from The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), “The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia” (n.p.). The concern for Earth’s warming temperatures has started to rise in recent years. Those who are oblivious to human activity believe global warming is just an act of nature. On the other hand, many question if this is in fact a result of human activity. Some scientists try to provide factual evidence to prove the earth is getting warmer. NASA states, “Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted, and trees are flowering sooner” (n.p.). A lot of possible solutions and efforts to slow down climate change have been put into effect.

From the article, “Will Deregulatory Efforts Harm the Environment?” by Christina L. Lyons, “The task force’s plan details numerous recommendations, including requirements that oil, gas and mining industries reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and reduce emissions from power plants 33 percent below 2010 levels by 2030” (n.p.). In this paper, I will prove that global warming is an awful trend for the planet, most seriously affecting the Arctic, Amazon, coral reefs, and a variety of species. While also proving humans are partially to blame. II. Argument Global warming is a trend that is affecting many areas all around the world. No matter where one is in the world, one is going to experience the devastating effects. One of the many regions affected is the arctic. The arctic region is important because the ice keeps polar regions “cool” and helps maintain the global temperature with the earth continuing to rise in temperature, the glaciers are facing their demise.

Carol Rasmussen claims the thickness of arctic ice has been declining for the past few decades; the current ice is the “youngest and thinnest” that has been documented, since they began to keep record on the area (n.p.). Seasonal ice has been showing up more in the Arctic, which means generally in cold weather, the freezing spreads and the glaciers grow, but during the warmer seasons the temperatures outweigh the glaciers. Rasmussen says that seasonal ice is becoming more of a regular because nearly 800,000 square miles of “older ice” has been depleted (Rasmussen n.p.). The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) says that icebergs and glaciers tend to have a “bright” surface that typically on average reflects 80 percent of sunlight, and when ice melts the surface of the ocean is exposed, this in return causes absorption of 90 percent of sunlight (n.p.). As one might expect, problems with raised sea level will arise. Fish habitats will be ruined along with agricultural soil due to flooding. Frank Incropera author of Climate Change: A Wicked Problem, says that rising sea levels will affect many cities like Tokyo, New York, and New Orleans as they would be “severely at risk” (90). Rapid changes ranging from decreased amounts of ice coverage, increased temperatures, and elevated sea levels the arctic wildlife populations are facing substantial losses due to the inability to adapt, and it has already shown. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) mentions a list of six animals who are struggling in arctic regions: polar bears, walrus, reindeer/caribou, narwhal, beluga, and bowhead (WWF, Arctic n.p.).

The WWF issued a statement, “Millenia of evolution have prepared arctic species . . . for life on and around the sea ice. Now their habitat is radically shifting a matter of decades” (WWF, Arctic n.p.). Polar bears are coming closer and closer to land as the ice decimates. The large primates struggle to find food like the walrus who is impacted. Animals like this are forced to expand their boundaries. The WWF noted that the bears have a great smelling ability that can lead them to “human waste, stored food, and animal carcasses,” which can cause issues among the citizens (WWF, Conflict n.p.). Along with the polar bears, narwhals according to the WWF are “slow swimming whales” that use sea ice to help prevent them from becoming prey (Animals n.p.). Not only is the artic having issues, but so is the tropics. Lyons states, “Scientist say that higher temperatures, raging wildfire, persistent drought . . . prove that the need to address climate change is 'increasingly urgent'' (n.p.). Deforestation will lead to a decrease in the amount of oxygen being produced.

Adriane Esquivel-Muelbert in a primary research article “Compositional response of Amazon forests to climate change” can be cited with this statement, “Tropical forests represent the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, as well as providing its largest stores of living carbon and contributing more to biomass productivity than any other biome on the planet. Changes here can therefore have global consequences” (42). He also goes on to mention increased drought can lead to “hydraulic failure', the inability of a plant to move water from roots to leaves eventually destroying the productivity of the forest (42). A lot of animals rely on these areas like the Amazon, and they are now at risk. A quote by Kerry Griffis-Kyle gives an idea of some specific species, “Canyon tree frogs, Lowland Leopard frogs, ambystomatid salamanders, and couch’s spade toads” (814). As the tropics continue to change and undergo substantial losses, fires are sure to come. Benjamin Lieberman and Elizabeth Gordon are the main authors in the book Climate Change in Human History Prehistoric to The Present, and they claim the low amounts of water coming into the Amazon River Basin “Aided in the spread” of wildfires (165). With the annual forest fire season periodically becoming longer and longer it is another huge hit to this rainforest. If change does not occur, this place will soon be a field of ash. It may seem like a lot is happening in the Amazon and the Arctic, but it is just as much in the coral reefs. Coral reefs are the rainforests down under the sea. The National Park Service’s (NPA) claim coral reefs are little animals that go by the name “polyps” that attempt to receive calcium through water and then they use it as a covering as an “external skeleton around themselves” (n.p.).

Once large amounts of coral build up it is then referred to as a “reef.” The National Ocean Service mentions that: Hidden beneath the ocean waters, coral reefs teem with life. Coral reefs support more species than any other marine environment and rival rainforests in their biodiversity. Countless numbers of creatures rely on coral reefs for their survival. These important habitats are threatened by a range of human activities. Many of the world’s reefs have already been destroyed or severely damaged by an increasing array of threats (n.p.). These vast systems of life and support can soon be wiped out. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) claims, climate affects “acidity, aquatic environments, and salinity,” which will affect areas such as lakes, seas, and oceans (Pilling xii). In fact, NASA said that the acidity of the oceans increased 30% since the Industrial Revolution began, acidity plays a huge part in growth rates and structural integrity (n.p.). This is just one of the problems facing the coral reefs.

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Coral bleaching is on the rise. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines coral bleaching as the “complete whitening” of coral due to changes in “sea temperature, light, and nutrients” forcing out the symbiotic algae that is found within the tissues (n.p.). This poses serious risk for these ecosystems as they are left without food and can easily be infected with diseases. Although they say the coral can survive through the bleaching, they are “subject to mortality” (NOAA n.p.). When dealing with reefs, the surrounding life that relies on these systems are suspectable to loss as well. The WWF said that reefs make up only a small amount of ocean about .1%, but 25% of aquatic species in the world rely on them (Coral n.p). No reefs will also be problematic for humans as they are protecting coastlines from storm damage and erosion. For instance, the great barrier reef, which has been drawing attention for years, has suffered great losses. Australian Research Council (ARC) Center of Excellence issued a statement from Andrew Baird that 93% of the reefs have been affected and that only 7% “avoided” coral bleaching. Issues are widespread, and this is affecting a lot of animals (n.p.) Animals are suffering worldwide habitat changes. The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) said that, “All Wildlife depends on healthy habitats.

They need the right temperatures, fresh water, food sources, and places to raise their young. Climate change is altering key habitat elements that are critical to wildlife's survival and putting natural resources in jeopardy” (n.p.). Some fish species like trout and salmon are going to face population declines because they require cold water to live in. The NWF mentions that many species rely on the seasonal changes in the oceans as cues as when to “migrate, flower, nest, or mate” (n.p.). Climate change is messing up these cues and forcing wildlife to alter their life cycle and seasonal events. Water levels are expected to cause flooding, and that will increase erosion leading to contaminated water reducing the quality. This will also lead to many marine habitats to be degraded. NWF has also issued this statement regarding food Some animals are laying eggs, migrating, or emerging from hibernation much earlier than they used to, only to find that the plants or the insects they need for food have not yet emerged. Climate change has altered food availability for migratory species; birds arrive on schedule to find that their food sources—insects, seeds, flowering plants—have hatched or bloomed too early or not at all. Milder winters cause seasonal food caches to spoil, so wildlife species like the gray jay depending on food stores to survive the winter are left without sustenance (n.p.). Wildlife populations are also struggling to find places to raise their young. As environments get burned down and problems in the ocean like salinity and acidity increase, there is less available space to raise or to even breed species. As droughts continue to spread, plant species are unable to adapt quickly enough to situations leaving them out to die.

The FAO talks about the inability for farmers to find valuable soil and that it will lead to the worlds “major crops” being unable to produce (Pilling x). A quote by the FAO said, “Plant diseases and pests are heavily influence by climate” (Pilling 11). Everything in these effected areas are connected. If the world loses one plant it’s not just something to avoid, there could have been a range of little insects who relied on it. Once these insects are left without food they will decline in numbers. Then the animal species that rely on insects for food have, no food. There are a lot of factors with food chains, because of that little factors can lead to huge changes. Since change is happening so quickly and a lot of animals are and were unable to react in time, humans have seen a lot of animals get wiped out and a lot are on the edge of survival. Animals are coming closer to their extinction. Some animals struggle to live with the effects of global warming and their population numbers continue to fall, and if there is no change, they can be depleted. Some species that are getting affected and that were not listed above are giant panda bears, African and Asian elephants, monarch butterflies, and cheetahs (NASA n.p.). Panda bears rely heavily on bamboo as their source of food and as droughts are happening less food is available. African and Asian elephants both require nearly 30 gallons a day and as water becomes polluted, these animals cannot find clean water; the Asian elephant is also losing numbers because invasive species that are forced out of their natural habitats by global warming, are eating everything up. Monarch butterflies rely on natural ques that are being disrupted. Cheetahs are considered vulnerable because there is little diversity in the DNA across the species, so that tends to decrease their chances of adapting to new changing environments. National Geographic claims the first mammal to go extinct due to climate change is the Humble Bramble Cay Melomys, a small rodent (n.p.). This rodent lived near the Great Barrier Reef.

National Geographic had a team led by Ian Gynther from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection out searching for any signs of life, in which they failed. The team issued a statement, “For low-lying islands like Bramble Cay, the destructive effects of extreme water levels resulting from severe meteorological events are compounded by the impacts from anthropogenic climate change-driven sea-level rise” (n.p.). If one species faced the affects sure enough more will, and it is believed by Lee Hannah, a senior scientist for climate change biology with Conservation International that animals that live on “smaller islands and on mountains” can expect massive losses due to “few places to go” (n.p.). Change is everywhere and questions concerning human involvement have continued to show up. Humans have been involved in climate change since the beginning of the industrial revolution. The revolution set off a trend that would last forever. The use of extracting fossil fuels from the ground, changing environments to build new factories, and the more common use of polluting machines all increased (Romm 137). Some examples of fossil fuels are natural gas, coal, and oil. Oil can be found in many places throughout sedimentary rock, and can be transformed into fuels such as gasoline, propane, and kerosene. Petroleum leaves a 37% mark in the United States energy needs (Denchak n.p.). The main form of getting this oil is hydraulic fracturing; rock is broken up by pushing large amounts of chemicalized water down through pipes allowing oil or gas to escape. The Bakken formation, a rock unit that spreads for thousands of miles, was producing “more than one million barrels per day in 2014” (McBride n.p.) With the increased use of fracking oil spills can occur which will harm the soil leading to vegetation being wasted. Breaking up rock can cause earthquakes.

Geologists in Arkansas and Oklahoma have conducted research on the increase of seismic activity located along up and coming fracturing projects (McGlynn 1052). Environmental Protection Agency established the first scientific links between fracking and pollution of nearby drinking water and found things like “radioactive materials and heavy metals.” Coal is another fossil fuel that is a carbon filled rock. Coal can be found in four forms that are usually determined by the carbon content and can be defined as “the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel” (Denchak n.p.). The list from lowest to highest grade is lignite, subbituminous, bituminous, and anthracite. Although they vary in grade, they all are still sources of harmful pollutants. There are two ways to get coal: underground mining that uses high tech gear to make cuts from deposits and surface mining that takes layers of soil and rock and uprooting and polluting entire ecosystems. (Denchak n.p.) According to Daniel Wood and Sarah Gerrity, authors of the department of energy state that, “The United States consumes on average 148,600,00 British thermal units (btu) or 1000 pounds' (How n.p.). Alternatives need to be put into effect quicker than ever. Natural gases are found deep beneath the earth surface between rock layers and deposits under the ocean floor. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration natural gases: Natural gas contains many different compounds. The largest component of natural gas is methane, a compound with one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms (CH4). Natural gas also contains smaller amounts of natural gas liquids (NGL; which are also hydrocarbon gas liquids), and nonhydrocarbon gases, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor (Natural n.p.). Wells are set up to allow the gas to flow to the earths surface. Wells are being set up and they are pushing animals out of their habitats. Also wells have the chance to break causing leakage once again damaging plants, agriculture, and water.

The ways humans travel is hurting the world. Driving, flying, riding a train, or even traveling by ship can all cause pollution. While all of them use fuels like coal and gasoline that contain these harmful materials that are increasing the rates of global warming. Some car companies have taken a step in the right direction by implementing electric cars. Even though electricity includes burning fossil fuels, it is extremely less than a normal gas car. The opportunity to change is there, and people must commit to it, but some people just fail to accept the effects of climate change. One of the biggest problems facing global warming is that citizens don’t want to believe it. Incropera says, people who “dismiss the significance” of global warming view carbon dioxide as unharming (265). While science has given information on this trend some people do not accept the truth of science. Also, for the people who are on the border may think that the information provided still is not enough to convince them. The opposing side may say things like there could be a million of reasons for the earth to warm like the sun has gotten closer to the earth or the sun got bigger. Lieberman says that, “Wealthier countries, who may feel themselves to be less immediately affected may therefor be less supportive of action” (187). III.

As I discussed in this paper global warming is an ongoing trend all throughout the world, that can prove to be detrimental. Global warming is not only going to affect the animals on this earth it will affect us humans as well whether it is destroying land or polluting the air and water. Species have already suffered major losses and have brought them to the brink of extinction, but for some it has already proven too late. Humans play a big part in global warming by everyday travel and through factories, and if the world can unite and realize this is a real situation, humans can possibly slow it down. Many countries have already set goals in effort to help. This planet cannot stand the effects of global warming for much longer. It does not matter if one is in the cold of the arctic or the sun filled tropics. It is time for everyone to accept that climate change is real and that, if the trend continues the way it has everyone will eventually suffer. The last chance is here, and many people believe that it is time to put an end to climate change.

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