What are the effects of climate change?
The effects of climate change are already apparent and will become more so in future.
The average temperature of the earth’s surface has already risen by 0.75ºC since 1900, with most of this warming occurring in the last 30 years.
This may not sound like much but small changes in temperature can have a massive effect on people and wildlife.
Rainfall patterns are changing worldwide but in the UK it’s predicted that summers will become drier and winters wetter.
Changes in seasons
Already in the UK the onset of spring is earlier and the start of autumn later than it was in 1900.
Scientists predict that extreme weather conditions, such as torrential rain, flooding and heatwaves could become more common in future. Currently, flood damage costs the UK about £1 billion a year.
One quarter of CO2 is absorbed by the world’s oceans, making them more acidic. However, they also absorb heat and warmer oceans expand, causing sea levels to rise.
Rising temperatures also mean that glaciers are retreating and land ice is shrinking, which again increases sea levels. If this continues, coastal areas and small islands are at risk of flooding and land loss.
How does all this affect us?
The way we live is strongly linked to the world’s climate.
A changing climate will affect our water supplies, agriculture, power and transport systems and our health and safety.