Long Term Effects of Climate Change

The effects that climate change has had on our environment is already prominent and noticeable. Data collected by NASA shows that carbon dioxide levels are the highest they have been in 650,000 years, nine of the ten warmest summers recorded have been documented since 2000, and the land ice loss each year has doubled in a short time from 1996 to 2005. These effects have been monitored after only decades of considerable fossil fuel emissions. If greenhouse gasses continue to be released into the atmosphere at this rate, even with the measures we have already taken, it could spell damaging implications for life on Earth.


Projected Rises in Temperature

Projected Rises in Temperature

Estimates for the state of climate by the year 2100, predict that the additional production of greenhouse gasses will cause the Earth’s average temperature to rise by an additional 1.2 degrees Celsius. It has taken an estimated two hounded years for the average temperature to raise by only .8 degrees Celsius, which depicts a seemingly exponential growth in the amount of emissions we are producing. The effects of the .8 degree increase can already be seen due to the effect that even a small increase in temperature can have on weather patterns. An additional increase could lead to a greater prevalence of droughts, wildfires, and the disappearance of more polar ice caps. These phenomena can severely hurt wildlife, and if they are not able to adapt, they may potentially face extinction. The ecosystem has a very powerful effect on the living creatures that inhabit it, and even a small change in temperature could vastly hurt wildlife.


Projected Rises in Sea Level

Projected Rises in Sea Level

A recent study by twenty six climate scientists called the Copenhagen Diagnostic, analyzed the long term effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It found that carbon dioxide has an extremely long life cycle of up to one thousand years. This means that even if we were to obtain a zero-emission society, the effects of the already present carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will remain for a very long time. Additionally, the study looked at the effects of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on the oceans. Increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the water temperature of oceans to increase. This is an issue because it not only increases the acidity of ocean water, which could harm marine life, but also because heated water expands. The expanding water coupled with meleting polar ice caps causes sea levels to rise. Estimates depict that at the current level of carbon dioxide emission, the average sea level will increase by up to five meters by the year 2300. This is alarming as such a large increase in sea level could severely hurt coastal areas due to flooding and salt water harming agriculture. The before mentioned phenomena of the long life cycle of carbon dioxide indicates that this increased sea level would be extremely hard to counteract once it has occurred.


The increased average temperature across the globe has implications to largely increase the variation of weather patterns. Over the last 50 years, there has been a recorded increase in extreme weather events including heat waves, heavy storms, and severe floods and droughts. Heat waves and droughts have been brought on by the increased temperatures in certain areas, which causes water to evaporate rapidly. Heavy storms and floods have been the result of mildly increased temperatures that increase the humidity of air allowing for a large increase in precipitation. These events have all been seem to increase in prevalence, especially over the last fifty years, due to the increased amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouses gasses in the atmosphere. The prediction of additional emissions in future decades could increase these events even more and could potentially produce even harsher conditions.


These future effects of a continuing neglecting of climate change can impose severe repercussions for society as a whole. It is almost impossible to revert the excess release of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses in a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, the only reasonable solution to the issue of climate change is halting the supply of these harmful molecules into the atmosphere. There is no doubt that society is starting to search for cleaner solutions, however while we are slowly integrating cleaner alternatives, harmful gasses are still being released at dangerous levels. Temperatures are slowly rising and if society does not recognize the issue as a whole early enough, we may reach harmful environmental conditions that we may not be able to easily recover from.










3 thoughts on “Long Term Effects of Climate Change

  1. Brandon Corey Sullivan

    This is definitely something that most Americans have trouble dealing with. They don’t realize the long-term picture and believe if we aren’t feeling the immediate effects then it isn’t real or dangerous enough to fight. I actually talked about this in my TED Talk last semester where I discussed the psychology of climate change. I wish I could remember the name of the man who came up with the theory but there are five basic psychological explanations for the lack of action against global warming. The fact that the long-term effects seem so far away from us was definitely one of them. What people don’t realize is that if we don’t fight it now – attempt to fight this globally – our grandkids will feel the effects. It’s our later generations that we must fight for. We must fight for this planet as its given us everything we know to exist. It’s time we educate the population and make them realize the urgency of the situation. Lucky with the Paris Summit, most of the countries around the world made a global agreement to fight global warming and its signing is imminent. i just hope we don’t start the fight little too late.

  2. ces5729

    Hey Tyler!
    Great blog post this week! Obviously the planets temperatures are increasing at unsustainable rates, and unless we all do something now, they are going to continue to rise. Its also true that Earth is a very fragile system, and even small changes (such as an increase in temperature) can throw off the whole entire balance that Earth is trying to sustain. Animals will go extinct, ecosystems will fall to shreds, essentially mass chaos from an environmentalists stand point. I think the long story short here is that even very small changes can have drastic impacts on the environment, and we can’t simply ignore what is blatantly happening in front of our eyes.
    Good job! I wonder whats coming next week!

  3. sjt5234

    Hey Tyler,

    Another great post this week! Again, some really great points were made. People often hear the numbers about how much temperature has increased, even when compared to previous years, and just shrug it off. The common thought is: “a 3 degree average increase? That’s nothing; maybe I’ll actually be comfortable in the winter for once!” However, it’s important to compare with past data to know where we’re going. The fact is, the most recent Ice Age was only 4 to 7 degrees colder than the average temperature today. What people can take from this is that even small changes in temperature can have DRASTIC effects on how the world looks and how habitable it is by humans. The accelerating warming trend is only causing more storms and other natural disasters, and it needs to be slowed down as soon as possible.

    Looking forward to your post next week!

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