15 Deadly Effects of Global Warming: A Catastrophe in the Making?

January 13, 2009 / 2 Comments

There is a point beyond which you cannot trample with the mightily patient Mother earth. She has taken everything that has been thrown at her and has tried to balance the planet and keep it up and running by making tiny adjustments and giving us gentle jolts once in a while. But when the planet that you call home is heading towards a chaotic order, then she has to step in at some point to wipe out the infestation and set the record straight.

global warming 15 Deadly Effects of Global Warming: A Catastrophe in the Making?Image courtesy of Roberto Rizzato

With the way man has been destroying delicate balance of natural ecosystems and causing a steep rise in the global temperatures, global warming seems to be the cause that will one day bring about a catastrophic end to much of human race, much like nature put dinosaurs in their place millions of years ago. And when you have Nobel Laureates and the best minds in the world talking about how bad the situation is, then it is hard to dismiss it away.

This is why GP has compiled a list with what we believe to be the 15 most deadly effects of global warming.

Lack of good food and great holiday spots

That really does not sound that deadly, does it? Well, just imagine what you would do each year if you had to no special dinners during the holiday season and no great beaches or skiing slopes to hit come New Year time. Melting ice and rising waves will ensure that the beaches are gone while the changing climate patterns will see that snow does not return to its annual destinations. Fish like salmon and tuna, those special French wines and other food and beverage options will vanish and you will be left with the same thing every day.

Constant and unseasonal storms and floods

For those who have encountered serious hurricanes in the last few years, you can expect more frequent ones to come your way from now on and each time they return, they will come with twice the force before. With rising temperatures around both land and sea, the water vapor in the air will be more, the hotter winds will be gustier and hurricanes like Katrina will be put to shame when it comes to intensity.

Spread of diseases and parasite carrying insects

The hotter and more moist the weather, greater will be the spread of diseases. Carriers of parasites like the mosquito will now thrive in nations and environments that were unsuitable for them earlier as the places get warmer and more conducive to breeding. The insects will now migrate further north from the equator and do not be surprised if you catch malaria while touring the North Pole one day!

Prolonged droughts and crippling heat waves

It is not like we love predicting that doomsday is on the horizon, but facts are facts. With the varying climate patterns, the dry regions of the world will expand in area and in intensity as the world will see droughts that will be severe and prolonged in these regions. With unseasonal showers and sometimes no showers at all for several seasons, some of the places on the planet will just get too dry and hot for human sustenance.

Droughts + Hurricanes = Food Shortage

If global economic crisis is crippling, then brace yourself for the days when the global food crisis hits you. Leading researchers and organizations like the UN have predicted that the dual effects of floods and droughts will lead to a global food crisis and the wheels towards this are already in motion and the fact that we always will have more mouths to feed with passing time will not at all help the matter. There are solutions, but are people really interested?

Economic instability and more illegal immigrants

You have floods, droughts and food shortage along with the already growing shortage for fossil fuel and destabilized economy. This will simply add up to a more wobbly and finicky economy that will see many nations fall to poverty, while those already striving hard to get out of dire social and economic problems wills struggle further. Illegal immigration in search of greener pastures will be more than ever before as everyone will be scrambling for safety.

Survival of the fittest = “War” for humans

Darwin gave the basic principle of evolution to be the survival of the fittest With shrinking land that is safe and sports stable weather, reduced food supply and tighter economic leash, the world will just not be a place big enough for every human. This directly translates into the survival of the fittest, which in our own language and context means nothing but war. The problem with this is that the war will be both civil (between the lavishly rich and the struggling poor) and also across borders. A war will further deplete our natural resource, thereby leading us into a cycle of horror. No?

Acid pouring from the skies

If you saw ‘Day after Tomorrow’ and thought that the Statue of Liberty will sink in the ocean once the great flood comes, then you are just dreaming. If the current pollution and temperature changes continue, it mist likely will loose a lib and the torch to acid rain and will be turned dreary and dull. So the end for structures like Lady Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal mighty not be in the style Hollywood has chosen to envision. Of course, this will also mean destruction of food crops and … a bigger food crisis, what else?

Oceans turning acidic

There is only that much carbon dioxide the oceans of the world can absorb and act as a sink and beyond that, even they will turn acidic. This translates to dying fish, reduced sea food and death of many species of fish in large numbers (which of course, you cannot gorge).

Increase in weeds and carnivores

It’s pretty ironic how everything in life (and global warming) goes against you when you are already in the dumps. A destruction of food crops and warmer temperatures will make weeds stronger (and not for that) and will help them grow faster. In the animal kingdom, it will be the carnivores that will rule the few planet-eaters left and any eco-student will tell you that such a situation is a recipe for something called disaster.

Arctic Route opens up permanently and the Antarctic goes greener

I see the tourism industry and the enthusiastic traveler thinking, “wow, that’s real good news, not bad”. Well, in the short term, maybe you are right, but the less ice means that the caps are melting at a dangerous rate. And the tourist-welcoming Antarctic means ice most likely will not return anytime on that turf soon. Apart from driving the local ecosystem crazy, this will eventually mean, no polar ice caps. I feel shivers down the spy, do you?

Extinction of Species

If nature wiped out dinosaurs, man almost single handedly wiped out every species that has disappeared after that. That is not exactly the ‘Hall of Fame’ that we want to get to, but with changing ecosystems, melting ice and warmer temperatures, it is most likely that we will wipe out many more. The Polar Bear, the Emperor Penguins, Arctic Fox and Koalas are just a few to name. Thousands of other species of mammals, fishes and birds follow. Sitting in Hague and making lists is just not enough, UN!

Loss of major eco-systems:

If you are planning to visit the Great Barrier Reef, then go now. For that matter, the trip to Savannah or the trip to the Serengeti should also be taken at the earliest. With global warming completely wrecking eco-systems (first marine and then land), we will have nothing left to admire very soon. This though will not be a matter of aesthetics or tourism, but will snowball and have a direct impact on our own life and its quality.

Melting Ice- Shrinking Glaciers

It is not just the polar ice caps that we are talking about, but glaciers such as the ones that have been dangerously melting in Glacier Park in Argentina and Gangotri in India. The impact of shrinking glaciers will be felt when the once perennial rivers of the world that span Asia, Africa, South and North Americas will go bone dry. Without a glacier to feed on and irregular rains, do not be surprised if the Nile runs dry in Egypt one day!

Rising Sea Levels- Ultimate Doom

Lining in a world that is all water might not be a Hollywood fantasy and at the rate at which we are going, we are hell bent on bringing it to life. While people are dismissive about this happening, a state of self-denial will not help. With the coats shrinking and low-lying island nations already under threat, the danger is real and is growing with each passing day. If the world does not wake up soon, a shark could hunt you down in you own home; if sharks do not go extinct by then, that is!

The reaction to such predictions should not be panic or self denial, but a balanced approach and effective measures. Rather than starting to build a giant ark like Noah, maybe its time we learn how to be good stewards for Mother Earth because if we miss the bus now, there may not be a road ahead tomorrow …