Climate change is already affecting the planet and society and will continue to do so for generations to come. The physical and chemical changes of human activities are being felt in natural ecosystems on land and at sea, on farms and ranches, and in cities and suburbs, but the changes are not happening uniformly.
Climate change poses a fundamental threat to the places, species and people’s livelihoods to adequately address this crisis we must urgently reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the consequences of global warming. Sea levels are rising and oceans are becoming warmer.
Longer, more intense droughts threaten crops, wildlife and freshwater supplies. From polar bears in the Arctic to marine turtles off the coast of Africa, our planet’s diversity of life is at risk from the changing climate.
The increase in global temperature is significantly altering our planet’s climate, resulting in more extreme and unpredictable weather. Scientists in the United States and the world have reached an overwhelming consensus that climate change is real and caused primarily by human activity.
Climate plays an important role in the global distribution of freshwater resources. Changing precipitation patterns and temperature conditions will alter the distribution and availability of freshwater resources, reducing reliable access to water for many people and their crops. Winter snowpack and mountain glaciers that provide water for human use are declining as a result of global warming.
Researchers work to understand how these changes to the weather affect coastal populations, not to mention shipping, fishing, and other industries in those waters.
Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change. Animals, plants, bacteria, and viruses will migrate to new areas with favorable climate conditions. Infectious diseases and certain species will be able to invade areas that they did not previously inhabit.
Climate change is already affecting the planet and society and will continue to do so for generations to come.
Many researchers work to develop detailed predictions about the effects of climate change in local areas, and to make those predictions available to the general public. Predicting the long-term consequences is complicated in part because choices we make as individuals and as a society will change those outcomes. By reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, the effects will be less severe than if we choose to increase the amounts of those gases. This is one reason it’s so important to learn all we can about climate change: to make informed choices about the climate, and prepare for the results of those choices.