Global warming and climate change are processes of alteration of the Earth's environment that are putting our survival at serious risk. These mechanisms have been known for long time, but their acceleration in recent times has alarmed the scientific community and the governments of the major countries in the world.
The effect of climate change combined with the global warming on Earth is catastrophic, often the phenomena are numerous, and the consequences will continue even in the coming centuries according to scientists. Among the main effects are:
* constant increase in the Earth's temperature
* alterations in the duration of the seasons
* changes in precipitation systems
* extreme weather phenomena
* rising ocean levels
* ocean acidification
* ice melting
* risks for wildlife
As the climate warms, water warms. Global warming simultaneously causes the melting of polar ice caps and glaciers. The conjunction of these phenomena raises ocean levels, causing flooding and erosion along low-lying coastal regions. An ice-free Arctic before the end of the century could undermine its role as a regulator of the Earth's climate system, intensifying extreme weather phenomena such as hurricanes, prolonged droughts and typhoons. Poorest countries are often the most affected: their populations are generally heavily dependent on their natural habitats and have very few assets to deal with climate change.
Indeed, extreme weather conditions and rainfall are increasing in some areas, while in others can be seen unprecedented droughts and heat waves, which in turn increase fire risk. Heavy rainfall can lead to flooding and a deterioration in water quality, and in some regions even to progressive shortages of water resources.
On the other hand, risks of heat waves, events that are occurring more often and striking with greater intensity, causing serious problems for the ecosystem and health, especially of the most vulnerable people such as children, the elderly and the chronically ill. Also, paradoxically, in other parts of the world, there is an increase in cold-related deaths; and the allocation of certain waterborne and vector-borne diseases is also changing.
The increase in global temperature is a cause of climate change, however the latter affects the warming of the Earth, overlapping with this phenomenon and accelerating it. An obvious consequence is the alteration of the seasons, with the reduction of the winter period and the lengthening of the summer one, a condition that negatively affects crops and all terrestrial ecosystems.
Climate change is occurring at such a rapid pace that many species of flora and fauna are struggling to adapt. Many species, both terrestrial, marine and freshwater, have already migrated. Some of them are already under threat of extinction, and many more will be if the global average temperature continues to rise unchecked.
In addition, damage to homes, infrastructure, and human health demand an high price to our global economy. There are sectors, like agriculture, tourism and energy, that are highly dependent on their environment' climate, and obviously are going to be the most harmed by those disruptions.
Unfortunately, these phenomena are doomed to escalate in the near future.