Global Warming and its Effects on the Environment Essay

Global warming refers to the continued warming of the earths surface due to the effects of climate change. The major cause of global warming has been cited as the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The gases act as a blanket over the earths surface making it warmer. It has, therefore, been controversially argued that human beings are the major contributors to the problem of global warming.

Global warming has had a lot of effects on the environment and also on a myriad of species of flora and fauna. It is actually predicted that in a matter of centuries, some of the most valued species of animals will become extinct due to the effects of global warming.

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This paper explores the impacts of global warming on the environment and also suggests some of the measures that can be taken to mitigate the impact of global warming on the environment.

Effects of global warming on the environment
Global warming has had innumerable negative impacts on the environment. Of more concern are the facts that more adverse effects are being experienced now, more than ever before and also the fact that future predictions of the warming effects of greenhouse gases are even more threatening. This calls for a serious investigation of the global warming issue and also calls for development of suitable intervention strategies.

One of the effects of global warming is the fact that it is leading to continuous melting of ice caps. It is predicted that with the stated melting of ice caps, marine ecosystems will be adversely affected and this will consequently result to a worldwide ecosystem imbalance. This is predicted as a likely occurrence because the ice caps will produce fresh water after melting and this will lead to the dilution of the salt in the ocean.

This is bound to interfere with the ocean currents in a major way leading to poor regulation of temperatures in the ocean which will make it difficult for some species to survive.

The melting of the ice caps is, of course, carried out by the warming effect of greenhouse gases and it also accelerates the rate at which global warming is increasing. This is because the ice caps reflect atmospheric temperatures and give a cooling effect and therefore their absence will undoubtedly increase atmospheric temperatures (Houghton, 1994, p. 9).

Other effects of global warming on the environment include the rise in sea levels that have had adverse effects on the environment. The rise in sea levels has been a very serious effect of global warming due to the destructive effect it has in the occurrence of other calamities like earthquakes.

In the occurrence of the latter phenomenon, the environment undergoes a lot of destruction since low altitude areas get submerged in water. This water destroys both flora and fauna and consequently affects biodiversity. It is also predicted that the rise in temperatures and the defacing of landscapes in the North Pole will make some species to become extinct.

As stated earlier, the melting of ice caps leads to exposure of darker earth surfaces. This leads to more heating of the earths surface since the dark surfaces absorb more heat than the snow caps which .

This is stipulated to lead to more global warming. With the increase in the levels of global warming, it is expected that storms and hurricanes will become more disastrous to the environment and affect biodiversity greatly (Weart, 2004, p. 31). This is because they will become strong and sweep away vegetation and other ecosystems which harbour millions of species.

The storms and hurricanes also cause massive destruction that kills a large number of plant and animal species. Global warming is also associated with effects like the prevailing increase in the average levels of snow and rain precipitation world over.

Some animals that have been commendably affected by the changing ecosystems as a result of global warming are polar bears. It has been noted that polar bears have lost a considerable percentage of their body mass as their icy ecosystem is melted away by global warming and also as fish, on which they live, become less.

It is predicted that species will attempt to move north looking for colder ecosystems when the effects of global warming become unbearable. In cases where some species will be unable to move to more favourable ecosystems, the species are bound to live in harsh conditions until they become extinct (Johansen, 2003, p. 25).

Mitigation of the impacts
Global warming is a problem that cannot be completely solved. This calls for implementation of remedial actions aimed at mitigating the negative effects that global warming has on the environment. To achieve this, any measures that reduce the rate of warming of the earths atmosphere are bound to give positive results.

One of these measures is the reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere which are believed to be the chief cause of global warming. The stated reduction in the levels of greenhouse gas emission can be achieved by generally reducing the amount of energy we consumer in our (Healey, 2003, p. 13).

Thus car pooling, use of properly insulated water heaters at home, use of energy saving automobiles, use of appliances that are not faulty and the like are a starting point in the quest to solve the global warming problem.

As it has been evidenced in the discussion above, global warming has had, and continues to have adverse effects on the environment. Both ecosystems and the organisms that live in them continue to be endangered by the upward trend of atmospheric temperatures around the world. The problem is so serious that some of the species treasured by man will indubitably go to extinction if the status quo continues.

It is, therefore, of essence that we become realistic about the global warming problem and find pragmatic solutions to the problem. A lot of hullaballoo has been sounded on the issue which has done so much to derail the efforts to reduce the effects of global warming. People have been debating on whether global warming is caused by humans or it is just a natural occurrence from effects of the planetary orbits.

Since this debate has only made the worlds population live under harsher climatic conditions, there is need for consensus over the issue and proper planning to help in saving the worlds ecosystem and mankind from the effects of global warming. Everybody should take responsibility and try his/her best to reduce the amount of energy he/she consumes because this is a sure way of ensuring that the effects of global warming are mitigated.

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