The direct warming intensifies droughts by drying out and heating land that has been affected by less precipitation. The droughts are also worsened by warming due to early snowmelt, which reduces a vital reservoir used in the West in the dry summer season. Also, climate change alters precipitation patterns, which results in parched semi-arid-regions. Scientists have said that they are seeing this happen in the Mediterranean, as well as, apparently, in the southwest.
The early snowmelt, and the heating and drying, also worsen wildfires; in the West, in particular. The wildfire season lasts over two months more than it did only a few short decades ago. These wildfires also do more harm and are far larger than they were.
The atmosphere also attracts greater volumes of water vapour as a result of warming, so that deluges increase in both frequency and intensity and the world’s wet areas become even wetter. This has been put down to man’s activity in the northern hemisphere.
Sea levels are rising by heating up and expanding water- as well as by melting landlocked ice in such places as Antarctica and Greenland. The rise in sea levels then increases the likelihood of destructive storm surges.
Climate changes are now just now the beginning
While we are already seeing devastating effects, they’re just the start of things compared to what would happen if we don’t rapidly substitute fossil fuels for carbon-free energy sources. A number of studies have estimated that the Earth will warm a further 7-10°F throughout the course of the next 100 years based on our present emissions path.
Such a rapid and unprecedented change in temperature would affect the climate in a dramatic way, as well as make it far more difficult to feed nine billion people after 2050. Places such as Kansas would experience temperatures of 100°F or higher for the whole summer by the end of the century. Research indicates that large areas of the planet’s arable and habited land would be either submerged or turned into a Dust Bowl.
An horrific normality
The most devastating floods, droughts, and heat waves we experience today would become the norm. If we continue with our current level of inaction, it’s been estimated that sea levels will rise up to between three and six feet by the end of the century. Seas would continue to rise between five and 10 inches (possibly more) in each subsequent decade until they’re 80 feet higher. When the Earth’s ice eventually melts, they are estimated to be at over 200 feet higher.
Large areas of the ocean would transform into acidified dead pools, and without marine life. At least half of Earth’s species could be extinct. Whole ecosystems would be destroyed, and invasive species and tropical diseases would spread. This is why John Kerry has previously referred to climate change as the kind of mass destruction we should fear the most. It’s also why so many scientists have chosen to speak out.