Cross posted with Environmental Graffiti.
Green house gases stay can stay in the atmosphere for an amount of years ranging from decades to hundreds and thousands of years. No matter what we do, global warming is going to have some effect on Earth. Here are the top 5 worst effects of global warming.
5. Spread of disease
As northern countries warm, disease carrying insects are migrating north, bring with them disease.
4. Warmer waters and more hurricanes
As the temperature of oceans rises, so will the probability of more frequent and stronger hurricanes. We saw in this in 2004 and 2005.
3. Economic consequences
Most of the effects of anthropogenic global warming won’t be good. And these effects spell one thing for the countries of the world: economic consequences. Hurricanes can cause do billions of dollars in damage. Diseases cost money to treat and control.
2. Increased probability and intensity of droughts and heat waves
Although some areas of Earth will become wetter due to global warming, other areas will suffer serious droughts and heat waves. Africa will receive the worst of it, with more severe droughts also expected in Europe. Water is already a dangerously rare commodity in Africa, and according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming will exacerbate the conditions and could lead to conflicts.
1. Polar ice caps melting
The ice caps melting is a four-pronged danger.
First, it will raise sea levels. There is 5,773,000 cubic miles of water in ice caps, glaciers, and permanent snow. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, if all glaciers melted today the seas would rise about 230 feet. Luckily, that’s not going to happen. But sea levels will rise.
Second, melting ice caps will screw up the global ecosystem. The ice caps are fresh water, and when they melt into the ocean, they make it less salty, or desalinize the ocean. The desalinization of the gulf current will screw up, to put it simply, the current. It will cool the area around north-east America and Western Europe. Luckily, that will slow some of the other effects of global warming in that area. But with the stream shutdown, the whole Atlantic ecosystem could be warped.
Third, all the animals in the Arctic will be in danger because of a changing habitat.
Fourth, global warming will accelerate with the ice caps gone. Ice caps are white, and reflect sunlight. Some of that sunlight is reflected back into space, further cooling Earth. If the ice caps are melted, only the dark-colored ocean will be there. Darker colors absorb sunlight, further warming the Earth.