The question is asked all the time: “how will global climate change affect people directly?” For many, there is a thought that they are invisible and nothing can harm them. This thought process can do significant damage to the earth when it comes to climate change. There are many who believe that global climate change will not affect them and this is why many will not change their environmentally destructive ways of life. Below I will discuss the ways in which global climate change does affect humans in terms of weather related events. If people realize that they are causing harm to not only the planet but to themselves then maybe people will be more accountable for their actions concerning what is good and bad for the planet we live on. Global climate change is leading to hotter days, increases in rainfall and flooding, and is causing stronger and more severe hurricanes and droughts. This amplification of weather and climate extremes will be the most direct impact to people all over the globe. The increase in temperature is also causing at times dangerous changes to the global landscape. This adds stress to wildlife, and people. People can see this impact on their everyday lives.
One weather related event that is impacted by climate change is hurricanes. Hurricanes destroy buildings, roads, and take people’s lives. According to the National Wildlife Federation the warming of the oceans waters will cause maximum wind speeds to increase as much as thirteen percent, which is enough energy to boost the hurricane up to the next category. It is described by the National Wildlife Federation that rising sea levels will cause more damaging storm surges and further erode the coastal wetlands, which is a natural defense mechanism against the hurricanes. This will cause the people who live on the coast more vulnerable. The amount of coastal development is increasing which means more and more people are living in hurricane areas.
More frequent droughts can also be linked back to climate change. By the end of the century, if greenhouse emissions continue to rise at their current rates, The New York Times written by Gillis says that the major heat waves that occur around every 20 years will increase to every few years and will across large areas of the planet. Human population growth means more people will be subjected to these kinds of conditions as well. California has been experiencing a drought for the past 4 years. This is correlated with record temperature highs. It has been raining a lot more than snowing. Rain doesn’t reach the reservoirs because it soaks into the ground quickly and this rain melts the snow faster. The normal cyclical conditions in California are different than what they used to be and this is thought to be drawn back to the long term warming on the state.
Wild fires are occurring more and more due to the increasing temperatures. There is less snow which means less snow seeping deep into the ground. More water is falling in place of the snow and as rain it flows away down rivers. The ground is not as moist as it would typically be May and June which is the most arid time of the year. This along with the growing season starting earlier means the ground is drier and there is more to burn. These factors lead to a longer fire season, which have increased by two months over the past 30 years. More lightning strikes are causing more wildfires to start as well. This is because there are more severe storms occurring due to the warmer temperatures.
Warmer air also holds more moisture therefore rainfall and severe thunder and lightning storms will increase by an expected 10 to 31 percent over the century. It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation or the proportion of total rainfall will increase in the 21st century over many areas of the globe. The frequency of extreme storm surges is expected to rise by as much as 10 times in future decades because of increasing temperatures. Global warming has already doubled the chance of storms like hurricane Katrina. It is expected that these huge storms can occur every few years.
In conclusion, Global climate change has an impact on increasing the duration and severity of weather related events. This is caused mainly by the warmer air temperature being able to hold more water and dumping larger amounts of rainfall at once. This causes two major issues, one being longer periods of dry spells which can lead to droughts and wildfires and the other being when all the moisture is dumped at one time and it is trapped in the air larger hurricanes and storms in general will result. These events are going to harm more and more people as time goes on not only because these events are becoming more frequent and more severe. It is because there are more people living on the planet. More people than ever before are living in disaster prone areas therefore more will get hurt by them. People are driving global climate change in the first place so if there are more people climate change will increase more. The facts show that climate change has a major impact on the weather an events related to weather.
Barringer, Felicity, and Kenneth Chang. "Experts See New Normal as a Hotter, Drier West Faces More Huge Fires." The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 July 2013. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
Gillis, Justin. "U.N. Panel Finds Climate Change Behind Some Extreme Weather Events." The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 Nov. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2015."Global Warming and Hurricanes." Natonal Wildlife Fedration, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.
Nagourney, Adam. "As California Drought Enters 4th Year, Conservation Efforts and Worries Increase." The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
Rice, Doyal. "Climate Change to Worsen Hurricane Storm Surge." USA Today. USA Today, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Mar. 20