Climate change is defined as the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns in a certain place according to the National Geographic encyclopedia. The most significant factor for the cause of climate change is the greenhouse effect. Only short wave radiation enters the Earth, long wave radiation is absorbed and radiated by the greenhouse gases in the first layer of the atmosphere, warming the Earth’s surface, creating a continuous loop. As climate change progresses, so do heat waves, droughts, floods, sea level rise, storms and famine. This results in major physical impacts, and people must learn to adapt to them.
The emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are causing heat waves to occur more frequently because of climate change. Extremely hot nights that used to present themselves only once in a 20 year period are now much more common, occurring twice in 20 years. In addition, hot summers are also on the upswing. A 2004 study examining areas of Europe and North America found that future heat waves, projected for the second half of the 21st century, will be more intense and frequent than previous years. The rapid increase in heat waves is concerning because extreme heat threatens lives, exacerbates food, and damages infrastructure. As indicated by climate models, “by the end of the century, heat waves will routinely shatter records and increase heat stress on populations globally,” according to Alice C. Hill, Madeline Babin. Columbia University Earth Institute states, “global warming could kill as many as eighty-three million people over the next eight decades, a population equivalent to Germany’s.” As individuals who inhabit Earth we should be alarmed by the rapid rise in temperature, and understand the effects that may result due to these changes. However, people should also learn to adapt in order to prepare themselves for such extreme weather conditions. For instance, an individual can stay in an indoor location with air conditioning. It is important to stay hydrated, plan outdoor activities accordingly, what to wear, and to conserve electricity.
More droughts in the United States have been predicted, as the “wet get wetter, the dry get drier”, and scientists predict that while rainfall grows in those areas of the world already wet, those dry areas will grow even drier. A 2015 NASA study projected the possibility of a mega-drought in the American Southwest and central plains. The study found that if greenhouse gases continue to rise, there is an 80% chance of long-running drought in those areas. Due to climate change, droughts are becoming more frequent, as the Earth’s atmosphere warms there is an increase of water vapor in the atmosphere leading to severe drought conditions, and intense rainstorms. Important mitigation strategies to use in order to reduce the effects of droughts include protecting water sources, developing water sources, as well as balancing land and water sources.
The sea levels will accelerate due to greenhouse gas emissions. Between 1993 and 2018, the ocean level rose by 7 centimeters, nearly 3 inches, and at this rate three millimeters a year is expected to increase, and could possibly double. The rising water level is mostly due to a combination of meltwater from glaciers, ice sheets and thermal expansion of sewers as it warms according to climate.gov. People can adapt to these changes by building floor barriers to protect infrastructure, and food barriers to protect sea walls. It would be wise for populations to relocate facilities to higher elevations. Climate change has various impacts on our planet, and it is significant that we are aware of these constant changes around us in order to prepare for their impacts.