Global average sea level has risen about 8 inches since 1900, driven by expansion of the warming ocean, melting of mountain glaciers, and losses from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. This rise has caused coastal cities to see an uprising in flooding, both during storms and as “sunny-day” flooding from tides alone. These flooding events disrupt economies, make it difficult to deliver emergency services, and disproportionately affect older, and low socioeconomic status populations.
Global warming is leading to more extreme weather of certain types — especially those types of weather events related to temperature. Warming due to climate change is leading to more heat waves, and extremely hot days and nights have become more likely. Extreme cold events are less frequent and less severe than in previous decades. Climate change is also leading to more heavy rainfall and snowfall events as Earth’s atmosphere is becoming warmer and moister. Climate change can worsen droughts, as increased surface temperature increases evaporation, which leaves the land drier than it would be at a cooler temperature. Hurricanes are becoming more intense, produce more rainfall, and are larger. In addition, rising sea level contributes to stronger storm surges.
Oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, harming corals and other marine life. Increasing changes in the global climate and ocean chemistry threaten the persistence of coral reefs. The link between temperature and corals derives largely from the bleaching response of corals to higher than normal temperatures. Recent increases in ocean temperature have led to a significant increase in exposure of corals to high temperature events and have caused severe coral loss globally. Additionally, CO2 from fossil fuel combustion forms carbonic acid when it dissolves in the ocean, gradually making the oceans acidic which reduces growth rates of coral.
Some future climate change is unavoidable, necessitating steps to adapt to current and anticipated impacts. Many of the things people use or do every day — from roads to farms, buildings to subways, jobs to recreational activities — were optimized for the climate of the 19th and 20th centuries. They were built with the assumption of certain temperature ranges, precipitation patterns, frequency of extreme events, and other manifestations of climate, which are now shifting. Even if humankind were to succeed in limiting global climate change in accordance with current goals, adaptation will be needed to protect people, ecosystems, infrastructure, and cultural resources from the impacts of climate change, many of which are already evident.
Appropriate measures to adapt to climate change will vary from location to location. In some places, incremental steps will be sufficient to manage risk over the next several decades. In other places, transformational changes, such as relocation, are likely to be required. Adaptation strategies range from technological and engineered solutions to social, economic, and institutional approaches. Global Warming is a real and we need new scientific discoveries to help combat this change in the world today for a sustainable future.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and NASA warned a couple of years ago that many impacts of climate change are already irreversible and that sea levels will rise at least 90 centimeters in the coming decades.
U.S. cities like New York, Houston, New Orleans, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco and many more will all be covered in water in the near future. Many more international cities would face the same fate.