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Impacts of Climate Change. Satellite measurements shown a trend in overall shrinking of Earth’s ice sheets Impacts: Rising sea levels will affect many cities and countries that are at low elevations Ice floes relied upon by species such as polar bears will affect their chance of survival.

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changes in polar and glacial ice

Satellite measurements shown a trend in overall shrinking of Earth’s ice sheets

  • Impacts:
    • Rising sea levels will affect many cities and countries that are at low elevations
    • Ice floes relied upon by species such as polar bears will affect their chance of survival
Changes in polar and glacial ice
rising sea level and ocean acidity

As ocean and sea levels rise, many coastal parts of the world may become submerged

  • Tides, ocean currents, and prevailing winds will have differing impacts on these areas
  • As oceans become warmer, greater amounts of CO2absorbed, lowering the pH and increasing the acidity.
  • Increased acidity affects many species, in particular coral reefs
Rising Sea Level and Ocean Acidity
climate and health

Extreme weather events (heat waves, floods, tornadoes, snowstorms, etc.) increases risk of injury or death

  • Changing climate and ecological zones allow disease carrying animals to expand to new territories, bringing disease with them – increasing the likelihood of outbreaks of disease such as malaria, plague, lyme disease, hantavirus)
  • Air quality will increase the amount of pollen, dust and allergens
  • Increased number of smog days affect those with respiratory difficulty
Climate and Health
desertification and drought

Declines in precipitation can cause deserts to spread – decreasing the area of fertile land for growing crops

  • According to some sources, about half of the nations on earth will experience some water shortages by the year 2025.
Desertification and Drought
storm intensity and frequency

Most intense storms begin in tropical areas

  • The average temperatures in these zones has increased by about 0.33 °C since 1981.
  • Warmer seas hold more energy to convert to hurricane-speed winds.
Storm Intensity and Frequency
changing biomes

Biomes are similar to ecoregions and climate zones.

  • They include characteristic biotic factors (plants and animals), combined with a unique set of abiotic conditions.
  • Tundra, boreal forest, grassland, temperate deciduous forest are all biomes found within Canada.
  • Plants and animals adapted to living in a particular region may no longer be able to survive there.
  • If species are not able to migrate to new areas, they will go extinct.
Changing Biomes
deforestation

Removal of trees reduces the amount of CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis.

  • Deforestation can be due to human activity (logging) or by species introduced by humans (such as the mountain pine beetle)
Deforestation
shrinking wetlands

Freshwater ecosystems help to regulate climate

  • Marshes, bogs, fens, swamps – all of these store and filter water as well as provide a great number habitats for plants and animals
  • Reduction in water levels in large bodies of water (such as Lake Ontario) will cause these wetlands to dry out and disappear
Shrinking Wetlands
special concern for the arctic

Climate change is happening more rapidly in the arctic

  • Likely due to the positive feedback loop of a reduced albedo effect
  • Ecological repercussions for multiple species, including humans
  • Coastline more susceptible to increased erosion
  • Permafrost is thawing, causing sinkholes and shifting foundations of buildings
Special Concern for the Arctic
changes in arctic affect us all

Albedo Effect – less ice, less albedo, greater overall absorption of heat energy

  • CO2 – (and other greenhouse gases) trapped in ice and permafrost will be released
  • Sea level rise – more water in oceans will flood low-lying areas
  • Ocean currents – can be disrupted by large inflows of fresh water
  • Biodiversity – many migratory species spend part of their year in the arctic
  • Shipping and transport – ice free arctic could allow for ships to pass through arctic on a regular basis
Changes in Arctic affect us all