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Effects of Global Warming

Effects of Global Warming



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Published by: zerubabel on Nov 09, 2009
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Effects of global warming
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to:navigation, search Graphical description of risks and impacts from global warming from theThirdAssessment Report of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The
effects of global warming
on theenvironmentandhuman lifeare numerous and varied.Scenarios studied by theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) predict thatglobal warming will continue and get worse much faster than was expected even in their last report. The IPCC reports attribute many specific natural phenomena to human causes.The expected long range effects of recent climate changemay already be observed. Rising sea levels,glacier retreat,Arctic shrinkage, and altered patterns of  agricultureare cited as direct consequences of human activities. Predictions for secondary and regionaleffects includeextreme weather events, an expansion of  tropical diseases, changes in the timing of seasonal patterns in ecosystems, and drasticeconomic impact. Concerns have led to political activism advocating proposals tomitigate, eliminate, or adaptto it. The 2007Fourth Assessment Reportby the IPCC includes a summary of the expectedeffects.
Climate changes characterized as global warming are leading to large-scale irreversible effects at continental and global scales. The likelihood, magnitude, and timing isobserved to be increasing and accelerating.Many consequences of global warming once thought controversial are now beingobserved. Large reductions in theGreenland andWest Antarctic Ice Sheets, accelerated global warming due to carbon cyclefeedbacks in the terrestrial biosphere, and releases of  terrestrial carbon from permafrostregions and methane from hydrates in coastalsediments are accelerating.
The Woods Hole proposal that melting ice might bring fresh water to theGulf Stream  bringing significant slowing of the ocean circulation that transports warm water to the North Atlanticisn't occurring.
The probability of warming having unforeseen consequences increases with the rate,magnitude, and duration of climate change. Additionally, the United States NationalAcademy of Scienceshas stated, "greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events…. Future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, andclimate surprises are to be expected."
The IPCC reports that the effects of global warming will be mixed across regions. For smaller values of warming (of up to 3°C
) or about 5°F), changes are expected to producenet benefits in some regions and for some activities, and net costs for others. Greater warming may produce net costs (or to reduce the benefits from smaller warming) in allregions. Developing countries are vulnerable to reduced economic growth as a result of warming.
Most of the consequences of global warming would result from physical changes:sealevel rise, higher local temperatures, and changes in rainfall patterns. Sea level isexpected to rise 18 to 59 cm (7.1 to 23.2 inches) by the end of the 21st century, notincluding the unknown contribution from non-linear changes to large ice sheets.
Physical impacts
Effects on weather
Global warming may be responsible in part for some trends in natural disasters such asextreme weather .Increasing temperature is likely to lead to increasing precipitation
but the effects onstorms are less clear. Extratropical storms partly depend on thetemperature gradient,which is predicted to weaken in the northern hemisphere as the polar region warms morethan the rest of the hemisphere.
Extreme weather
Storm strength leading toextreme weather  is increasing, such as the power dissipation index of hurricane intensity.
 Kerry Emanuelwrites that hurricane power dissipation ishighly correlated with temperature, reflecting global warming.
. However, a further study by Emanuel using current model output concluded that the increase in power dissipation in recent decades cannot be completely attributed to global warming
.Hurricane modeling has produced similar results, finding that hurricanes, simulated under warmer, high-CO
conditions, are more intense, however, hurricane frequency will bereduced.
Worldwide, the proportion of hurricanesreachingcategories 4 or 5– with wind speeds above 56 metres per second – has risen from 20% in the 1970s to 35% in the1990s.
 Precipitation hitting the US from hurricanes has increased by 7% over thetwentieth century.
The extent to which this is due to global warming as opposed totheAtlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is unclear. Some studies have found that the increase insea surface temperaturemay be offset by an increase in wind shear, leading tolittle or no change in hurricane activity.
Increases in catastrophes resulting from extreme weather  are mainly caused by increasing  population densities, and anticipated future increases are similarly dominated by societalchange rather than climate change.
TheWorld Meteorological Organizationexplainsthat “though there is evidence both for and against the existence of a detectableanthropogenic signal in the tropical cyclone climate record to date, no firm conclusioncan be made on this point.”
They also clarified that “no individual tropical cyclone can be directly attributed to climate change.”
However, Hoyos
et al.
(2006) have linked theincreasing trend in number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes for the period 1970-2004directly to the trend in sea surface temperatures.

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