In the past, scientists and environmentalists have shown scepticism regarding the entire discussion surrounding global warming. This scepticism was in part due to a lack of hard facts making a case for global warming or its effects on the earth’s ecosystem as well as human life. As expected, time and advances in science have played a role in chronicling global warming using real figures and these statistics have finally begun to tin over hardened sceptics.
Physically, global warming has also begun to wreak havoc on the earth’s vegetation, wildlife and sea life. These changes include deforestation, the frequent occurrence of hurricanes and melting of polar-ice caps. Statistics as well as this visible physical evidence show that now is the time to discuss global warming and its effects in our schools to educate the public. So here, 10 facts on global warming and its effects on human health will be provided to aid students writing essays on these topics. Two successive articles on how to go about choosing a topic on global warming and human health in world climate change and a guide for writing a short essay will be provided to compliment this article.
The facts on global warming and human health in world climate change you should know:
- Melting glaciers due to global warming adversely affect human health. Statistics show that the rate at which glaciers in the Arctic Circle are melting has seen a considerable increase in recent years. The figures show that the melting rate between the years 2000-2010 is currently 3 times higher than the rate witnessed in 1980 to 1990. The increased rate due to rising temperatures has led to flooding thereby endangering human life.
- Global warming has caused irregular weather patterns. The weather pattern of the 21st century is rapidly changing when compared to recorded patterns from two decades ago. The irregular weather pattern is being experienced globally and its effects on plant and human health include increased rainfall which affects the delicate balance that plants need to survive and grow. These irregularities also lead to animal migration and with scarce food resources, humans in certain regions — East and West Africa — will experience health problems due to climate change.
- Global warming has led to extreme heat and droughts in diverse regions of the earth. The effects of global warming vary from region to region but through this variance, statistics show that earth is currently experiencing a 1-2% increases in its overall temperature. The World Health Organization has previously stated that the safety threshold is a 2% increase and anything above that will be disastrous to human health. As of today, extreme heat kills approximately 30,000 people yearly in the developed world while in sub-Saharan Africa approximately 20 million people do not have access to water due to droughts.
- Global warming creates more natural disasters. Data from WHO shows that the number of deaths caused by natural disasters in the 21st century has more than tripled the numbers experienced in the 20th century circa 1950 to be precise. This increase is directly proportional to the increase in global warming currently been witnessed today. Sadly, natural disasters have accounted for approximately 60,000 yearly in more developed regions of the world.
- Global warming creates an enabling environment that spreads infections. The increased temperature and flooding caused by climate change are slowly turning the earth into a breeding ground for diseases and infections both in the developed and developing world. Statistics show that regular floods enable the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera and river blindness. Disease carrying mosquitoes are also a by-product of these flooded environments and these factors work together in reducing the quality of human health globally.
- Global warming puts the ‘fire’ in wildfires. although wildfires are unpredictable occurrence, the increased dryness, temperature and carbon dioxide in the air due to global warming and climate change serve as natural fuels for wildfires. Global warming has led to a direct increase in the number of wildfires occurring each year and these fires last longer and cause more damage due to the earth’s changing climate. Predictably, the gas and vapours released into the air after a wildfire. It is toxic and attacks the respiratory system of humans.
- Global warming affects air quality. In regions where excessive industrialization has taken place and is currently taking place, toxins are released into the atmosphere that negatively affect it. Statistics show that the pollution caused by power plants, vehicular emissions and overabundance of carbon dioxide in the ecosystem has led to ground level ozone smog. This smog affects the human respiratory system and impedes breathing causing respiratory illness such as asthma in more extreme cases.
- Global warming adversely affects mental health. Research has shown that the disruptions caused by extreme weather changes, climate change and natural disasters have led to mental health problems among affected individuals. Disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes have led to increased anxiety and emotional stress levels which can accumulate with time into more serious mental health issues.
- Global warming acidifies the ocean. Ocean acidification occurs when the world’s oceans absolve more carbon dioxide than is needed to balance its ecosystem. This excess carbon dioxide then breaks down into carbonic acid which neutralizes the normal alkalinity of the ocean. The fall out of ocean acidification on human health is unavoidable due to the fact that 70% of humans have around the oceans. And as the ocean’s acidity affects the living organisms in it — which humans eat — unhealthy acids which affect human health are ingested.
- Global warming threatens our future health conditions. Statistics show that the earth’s temperature is set to increase by 3-4% on a yearly basis by 2030. This number which is above the 2% threshold will lead to adverse effects on the ecosystem that could cause approximately 250,000 deaths per year. A breakdown of this analysis put the projected death rate due to heat strokes at 38,000, diarrhoea at 48,000, Malaria at 60,000 and malnutrition at 95,000.
So here we come to the end of this article and we have provided you with 10 important facts on global warming and human health. Learn more by reading the other articles on selecting essay topics and how to write a short essay on global warming and human health in world climate change.
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Philander, S. (2012). Encyclopaedia of Global Warming and Climate Change 234, 256.
Rinkesh, J. (2009). Effects of Global Warming. http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/GlobalWarmingEffects.php
Fried, S. (2006). Predicting the Effect of Climate Change on Wildlife Severity and Outcomes in California.
Zhou, N. & Yang, J. (2008). Potential Impact of Climate Change on Schistosomiasis Transmission in China 78, 188-94.
Knowlton, K. (2009). Climate and Your Health: Addressing the Most Serious Health Effects of Climate Change.