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The effects of global warming on the earth

There are different climates around the world, such as tropical, dry and moderate.

As a large country, Australia has a variety of climates. The climate of an area determines its seasons and when they come and go. This, in turn, affects the type of plants that grow and which animals survive. The species and places we love depend on intricate ecosystems, and even small changes to the climate can disrupt the delicate balance of nature.

As humans, every aspect of our life is reliant on the natural environment. This includes the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the clothes we wear and the products that are made and sold to create jobs and drive the economy. A healthy and stable climate is our most precious natural resource.

What changes to the climate are humans causing through global warming?

Impacts of global warming

Global warmingcaused by greenhouse gas pollution, is causing immediate and direct changes to the planet. This extra energy is like force-feeding the global climate system. Increased ocean temperatures are melting glaciers and ice caps all over the world.

Melted ice increases the volume of water in our oceans. Warmer temperatures also result in the expansion of the water's mass, which causes sea levels to rise, threatening low-lying islands and coastal cities.

Extreme weather events like bushfires, cyclones, droughts and floods are becoming more frequent and more intense as a result of global warming. The oceans have absorbed most of extra heat and carbon dioxide CO2 so far — more than the air — making the seas both warmer and more acidic.

Warming waters are bleaching coral reefs and driving stronger storms. Rising ocean acidity threatens shellfish, including the tiny crustaceans without which marine food chains would collapse.

Sadly, the poorest and most vulnerable nations, and the people who have contributed least to the problem, will be among the hardest hit by global warming. Some of the countries most at risk include our neighbours in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, including Kiribati, Tuvalu, Vietnam and the Philippines.

How is global warming affecting life in Australia? Global warming stresses ecosystems through temperature rises, water shortages, increased fire threats, drought, weed and pest invasions, intense storm damage and salt invasion, just to name a few. To survive, plants, animals and birds confronted with climate change have two options: And with the amount of habitat destruction, moving is becoming increasingly difficult.

  1. Warmer temperatures also result in the expansion of the water's mass, which causes sea levels to rise, threatening low-lying islands and coastal cities.
  2. As a large country, Australia has a variety of climates.
  3. Costly and growing health impacts Photo.

Changes to rainfall patterns, increasingly severe drought, more frequent heat waves, flooding and extreme weather make it more difficult for farmers to graze livestock and grow produce, reducing food availability and making it more expensive to buy.

Read more on food and farming here. Reduced rainfall and increasingly severe droughts may lead to water shortages. Rising sea levels and more frequent and intense storm surges will see more erosion of Australia's coastline, wearing away and inundating community and residential properties. Increasingly severe and frequent heat waves may lead to death and illness, especially among the elderly.

Global Warming Impacts

Higher temperatures and humidity could also produce more mosquito-borne disease. Increasingly severe extreme weather events like bushfires, storms, floods, cyclones and coastal erosion, will see increased damage to homes, as well as more costly insurance premiums. Rising temperatures and acidity within our oceans is contributing to extreme coral bleaching events, like the event that destroyed more than one-third of the Great Barrier Reef.

Within Australia, the effects of global warming vary from region to region. The impacts of global warming are already being felt across all areas of Australian life, and these will continue to worsen if we do not act now to limit global warming to 1.

Click here to see how your world could change as global temperatures rise.