Climate change has been part of the political and environmental discourse for many decades. Yet, many remain unconvinced of its looming threat even with evidence of its devastating effects in modern-day life. Extreme unpredictable weather that has brought about destructive hurricanes, snowstorms, floods, and drought in different parts of the world is believed to be a direct result of climate change. Its effects in America cannot be denied and scientists predict that climate change’s impacts on the country will go far beyond just increased temperatures.
According to the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) by the US Global Change Research Program, the average annual temperatures are expected to rise by about 2.5°F in the United States from 2021-2050. “The higher temperatures projected for the United States and the world are expected to increase the intensity and frequency of extreme events,” the report explains. Here, we discuss some of the extreme events in the US that will come as a result of climate change.
10. Hurricanes Will Be More Intense
According to NASA, at this rate, people should expect stronger hurricanes with longer duration and increased frequency. “Hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.” Warmer sea temperatures can intensify storm wind speeds which will deliver more damage and destruction when they make landfall. If nothing is done soon, people should brace themselves for more unpredictable hurricanes that will cause a massive loss of lives and property.
9. Increased Flooding
“Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since reliable record-keeping began in 1880. [And] It is projected to rise another 1 to 8 feet,” says NASA. As the world’s temperature gets warmer, more ice from the polar region melts, causing sea levels to rise. More frequent hurricanes bringing in more precipitation combined with high tides and higher sea levels would increase the occurrence of floods. Expect more intense flooding in many parts of the country in the next couple of years.
8. Reduced Food Supply
Climate change is expected to bring extreme weather patterns that will in turn affect people’s food supplies. Increased frequency of intense hurricanes coupled with flooding will destroy crops. Farms will also struggle to produce food as droughts become more common in other areas. Unpredictable rain patterns will affect harvest and planting schedules. Many fear that with the rate with which humans are causing the increase in Earth’s temperature, farmers will not have enough time to produce ample food for the world’s ballooning population.
7. Spread of More Infectious Diseases
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), climate change has caused an apparent increase in many infectious diseases. Increased flooding will contaminate more potable water supplies causing waterborne illnesses. Physical movements of animals due to changing environments, according to research, will facilitate the spread of more viruses and other parasites. Warmer conditions are also known to improve breeding conditions, extend lifespan, or increase the activity of some insects that transmit viral infections.
6. Water Shortages
According to the United Nations (UN), increased flooding can destroy more water points and sanitation facilities then ultimately contaminate water sources. “Higher temperatures and more extreme, less predictable, weather conditions are [also] projected to affect availability and distribution of rainfall, snowmelt, the river flows, and groundwater, and further deteriorate water quality,” the UN explains. Similarly, The World Resources Institute (WRI), predicts that many people in the US and the world will face water stress within 20 years.
5. Outdoor Work Will Be More Difficult
With continuous global warming, there will be an increase in the occurrence of heatwaves. There will be more compound heatwaves or those that occur one after another which will make work for farmers, construction workers, miners, and other agricultural laborers more difficult. According to information from Columbia University’s Earth Institute, by 2100, outdoor workers would have to start working four to six hours before dawn to avoid getting seriously ill because of heatwaves.
4. More Allergy and Asthma Attacks
Warmer temperature causes a longer pollen season and an increase in pollutants in the air thereby causing a spike in allergy and asthma attacks. As the Earth warms plants respond by producing more pollen and other allergens that trigger rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and asthma. Experts are saying people should expect to experience more chronic lung diseases in the next couple of years. More flooding and storms can also facilitate the growth of molds that are also directly linked to allergies and other lung problems.
3. Extinction of More Species In The Wild
Extreme weather patterns and drastic changes in temperature are affecting the habitats of many animals in nature. Animals are built to survive only certain conditions and temperatures thus altering these will cause their populations to dwindle and their species to eventually become extinct. Extreme weather patterns are affecting the natural balance of nature, interrupting life cycles, taking away food sources for many animals, and exposing them to conditions that are detrimental to their survival. According to research, up to 1 million species of animals could become extinct because of climate change.
2. Plant Species Will Die
Climate change does not only threaten the survival of many animals, but it’s also poised to push many plant species to the brink of extinction. Increased temperatures will eventually kill off plants, alter its growth patterns, or limit its habitat. Unlike animals that can move or migrate to cooler areas when temperatures get too hot, plants will simply die if temperatures become too difficult to adapt to.
Plants take many years to evolve and adapt to environments. For instance, some species of plants that live in the desert grow very deep roots to allow them to reach water sources deep into the ground and cactuses are known to store water in its stems, but the rate at which the Earth is warming will give plants very little time to adapt.
1. More Wildfires
Scientists believe that climate change is turning forests into a giant match stick. Warmer temperatures make plants and vegetation drier which can fuel fires. Climate change is also believed to be causing more lightning that can start wildfires. In addition to this, rising temperatures are creating longer fire seasons (or periods when fires can likely occur), and warmer temperatures make wildfires harder to put out.