Global Warming: Impact and Implications           EcoLogic Consultancy               Copyright © 2009
EcoLogic ConsultancyContent
Introduction
View
from
the
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side
Probable
impact
and
implications
Act
now
–
too
late
or
t...
EcoLogic ConsultancyIntroduction

Various human activities especially industrial ones add emissions to the atmosphere. Suc...
EcoLogic ConsultancyAlpine Glacier: comparison of present to 1900: Pasterze Glacier in Kärtnen, AustriaCirca 1900         ...
EcoLogic ConsultancyView
from
the
other
side
While answer of the absolute majority of scientists to the question “ Is ther...
EcoLogic ConsultancyIf sea level rises by 1 meter, the Maldives will disappear entirely, and in Grenada, up to 60per cent ...
EcoLogic ConsultancyIn densely populated areas such as the Indian subcontinent, it could create problems such as   Rising...
EcoLogic ConsultancyReferences

  The Climate Change Challenge: Scientific evidence and implications. Carbon Trust.  IPC...
EcoLogic ConsultancyEcoLogic Consultancy is a start-up consulting firm in the field of Environment Management.It provides ...
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  1. 1. Global Warming: Impact and Implications EcoLogic Consultancy Copyright © 2009
  2. 2. EcoLogic ConsultancyContent
Introduction
View
from
the
other
side
Probable
impact
and
implications
Act
now
–
too
late
or
too
soon
Informative Note on Global warming: Impact and Implications 2
  3. 3. EcoLogic ConsultancyIntroduction

Various human activities especially industrial ones add emissions to the atmosphere. Suchgases/particles emitted have not been part of the atmosphere ever. ‘Climate change’encompasses the wide variety of accompanying impacts on temperature, weather patternsand other natural systems. What is unique about current global climate change, relative tohistorical changes, is the causal role of human activity (also called anthropogenic forcing)and the current and projected dramatic changes in climate across the globe. “Climate change is happening. Over the 20th century, the global average temperature has risen by about 0.6 °C, and the mean temperature in Europe has increased by more than 0.9 °C. Globally, the 10 warmest years on record all occurred after 1991.” - European Commission strategy “Winning the Battle against Global Change”Heat-trapping ‘greenhouse gases’ in theatmosphere (of which the two most importantare water vapor and carbon dioxide, CO2) letthrough short-wave radiation from the sunbut absorb the long-wave heat radiationcoming back from the Earth’s surface and re-radiate it. These gases act like a blanket —and keep surface and lower atmosphere about33° C warmer than it would be without them.Earth’s greenhouse blanket is a good balancebetween the extremes of our neighbours:Mars, without any greenhouse gases, is afrozen wasteland; whilst Venus remainstrapped in a dense blanket of hot CO2. 1. Solar radiation passes through the clearVarious human activities including burning of atmosphere.fossil fuels, and long-term deforestation,humans have been increasing the 2. Most radiation is absorbed by the Earths surface and warms it.concentration of CO2 and other greenhousegases in the atmosphere since the industrial 3. Some solar radiation is reflected by the Earthrevolution began, thickening the greenhouse and the atmosphere.blanket. The enhanced concentration of 4. Infrared radiation is emitted from the Earthsgreenhouse gases is believed to be responsible surface.for raising the mean temperature of the 5. Some of the infrared radiation is absorbed andearth’s surface above that occurring due to the re-emitted by the greenhouse gases.natural greenhouse effect (Effect ofgreenhouse gases without human activities).A prominent and consistent indicator of climate change is the retreat of mountain glaciers, aworldwide phenomenon. Impacts on ice are also clear around the poles. The Arctic ice cap isshrinking, whilst in Antarctica, massive calving of the Larsen Ice Shelf combined with rapidrise in local temperatures around the Antarctic peninsula has led scientists to predict itscomplete disappearance within decades. Another widely observed impact is the ‘bleaching’of coral reefs caused at least in part by rising sea-surface temperatures.Informative Note on Global warming: Impact and Implications 3
  4. 4. EcoLogic ConsultancyAlpine Glacier: comparison of present to 1900: Pasterze Glacier in Kärtnen, AustriaCirca 1900 PresentPhoto Source: Munich Society for Environmental ResearchTemperature changes around the world in the last quarter of the 20th centuryTemperature rise is due to Human activitiesSource: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Third Assessment, Climate Change 2001: Synthesis ReportInformative Note on Global warming: Impact and Implications 4
  5. 5. EcoLogic ConsultancyView
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the
other
side
While answer of the absolute majority of scientists to the question “ Is there a ClimateChange?” would be yes, this does not mean that 100 % of the scientists now support climatechange as an absolute fact. There are alternative explanations1. The sun may have warmed over the last 25 years and caused most if not all the warming as discussed2. Fossil fuel combustion releases heat directly to the atmosphere and will cause a warming over the continents.3. Urban heat islands are substantial (several degrees Celsius in many cases and larger than the predicted anthropogenic greenhouse gases warming). Placing thermometers near cities and downwind of cities may lead to a warming that is falsely attributed to greenhouse gases.4. Other explanations for the recent warming include increased intensity of El Niño, increase in aerosols in the atmosphere and reduction in atmospheric ozone.The fact is that projecting climate change is a complex exercise. Although the basicmechanisms of climate change are straightforward, the final consequences for temperatureand specific impacts can be extremely hard to quantify. The role of the oceans, which storevast amounts of heat and move it around in ocean currents, is complex. This introducessome deep uncertainties into efforts to quantify climate change. Greenhouse gases will inaggregate warm the surface, but by how much and how fast only becomes clearer as thewarming signal emerges more and more clearly from amidst all the other influences. Eventhen, it is very hard to disentangle the effect of the oceans’ thermal inertia from the actual‘climate sensitivity’ — slow warming may be a sign either of low atmospheric sensitivity, or itmay show that decades more unavoidable climate change remains pent up in the slowlywarming oceans. The chaotic nature of weather itself (as opposed to the ‘climate envelope’)makes regional climate changes and extreme events even harder to predict, and scientists areonly slowly moving towards greater confidence about such effects.The understanding of climatic system is evolving, but the fundamentals are clear andsupported by a long list of other accumulating impacts.


Probable
impact
and
implications

There are clear trends in terms of warming, glacier retreat, sea-level rise, the migration andloss of species and ecosystems. There are various other predicted impacts of climate change;the list of these impacts could grow only longer as our understanding of multi-layered effectsof climate change grows.Rising sea levels along with probable changes in storm patterns could have hugeconsequences for hundreds of millions of people living in coastal cities; delta regions such asthe Nile Delta, lower Bangladesh, and parts of Florida, may be almost impossible to protect.Informative Note on Global warming: Impact and Implications 5
  6. 6. EcoLogic ConsultancyIf sea level rises by 1 meter, the Maldives will disappear entirely, and in Grenada, up to 60per cent of the beaches would disappear in some areas following a 50-centimetre level rise. “It is not just island people who are at risk from climate change: 60% of humanity live in coastal areas and therefore share vulnerability to climate change and sea level rise. Low lying coastal areas in all countries are threatened, including agriculturally productive river deltas world wide.”Extreme weather events potentially have the greatest impacts on humans, but since theyoccur infrequently, trends are hard to prove. Warming increases evaporation andprecipitation, and both aggregate rainfall and occurrences of ‘heavy precipitation events’ innorthern mid-latitudes the principal cause of flooding, which have increased in recentdecades. In tropical regions, the potential for more intense hurricanes and typhoonsincreases in a warmer world, but the data are sufficiently sparse and complex that thedefining a trend remains in dispute. It may always be questionable to attribute any oneparticular weather event to climate change, because all weather events have multiple causes.But science is increasingly able to estimate ‘how much have past emissions increased the riskof such events?’ – and the chances, at least of extremes such as these, are rising.Following graph shows a dramatic rise in number of extreme weather events globally, partlydriven by regional climatic factors (E. g. changes in precipitation and flooding).Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Third Assessment, Climate Change 2001: Synthesis ReportSome of the very likely changes predicted (with more than 90% confidence) are Higher maximum temperatures, with more hot days and heat waves over nearly all land areas. This would increase heat-related deaths, as well as heat-related stresses on crops. Higher minimum temperatures, fewer cold days, frost days and cold waves over nearly all land areas. More intense precipitation events, resulting in increased floods, landslide, avalanche, and mudslide damage, with increased soil erosion and increased flood run-off.Informative Note on Global warming: Impact and Implications 6
  7. 7. EcoLogic ConsultancyIn densely populated areas such as the Indian subcontinent, it could create problems such as Rising seas and storms inundating the Ganges delta region; a more variable monsoon undermining the agricultural foundations that feed a quarter of a billion people; and changing patterns of river flow as climate change impacts the Himalayan glaciers that feed the rivers, with corresponding international tensions across already volatile borders.
Act
now
­
Too
late
or
too
soon?

The climate system is marked by the inertia involved. Atmospheric greenhouse gasconcentrations will not stabilise until global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to a smallfraction of today’s levels, which is not expected by 2100. Even if the CO2 concentrationstabilizes, global temperatures will continue to rise for decades as the oceans slowly adjust tothe higher heat input. Sea levels will rise due to both thermal expansion and ice melt –effects which will accumulate over hundreds to thousands of years respectively.CO2 Concentration, Temperature and sea level continue to stabilize over a long periodSource: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Third Assessment, Climate Change 2001: Synthesis ReportThere are uncertainties about complex interacting systems such as North Atlantic Oceancirculation, monsoon in South Asia subcontinent, rainforest and permafrost. Their dynamics,stability and their limits are not well understood. Predicting specific changes to such complexsystems is filled with uncertainty. By the time the limits are understood — they may alreadybe crossed, possibly with dramatic consequences. The time to act on this issue is now, preparing inevery possible way for adapting to climate change which is already pent up and unavoidable.Informative Note on Global warming: Impact and Implications 7
  8. 8. EcoLogic ConsultancyReferences

 The Climate Change Challenge: Scientific evidence and implications. Carbon Trust. IPCC, Third Assessment, Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report UNFCCC (2005) climate change, small island developing StatesInformative Note on Global warming: Impact and Implications 8
  9. 9. EcoLogic ConsultancyEcoLogic Consultancy is a start-up consulting firm in the field of Environment Management.It provides services in wide spectrum of environmental field to help our clients to identify theopportunities, harness the potential, and solve their environmental challenges. For further details and discussion, you can reach us at enquiry@ecologicconsultancy.in / ecologicconsultancy@gmail.com 020-400 96 279 / +91-90287 88430 www.ecologicconsultancy.in Informative Note on Global warming: Impact and Implications 9

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