Climate change has brought about possibly permanent alterations to Earth’s geological, biological and ecological systems. These changes have led to the emergence of a not so large-scale environmental hazards to human health, such as extreme weather, ozone depletion, increased danger of wildland fires, loss of biodiversity,stresses to food-producing systems and the global spread of infectious diseases.The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 160,000 deaths, since 1950, are directly attributable to climate change.
To date, a neglected aspect of the climate change debate, much less research has been conducted on the impacts of climate change on health, food supply, economic growth, migration, security, societal change, and public goods, such as drinking water, than on the geophysical changes related to global warming. Human impacts can be both negative and positive. Climatic changes in Siberia, for instance, are expected to improve food production and local economic activity, at least in the short to medium term. Numerous studies suggest, however, that the current and future impacts of climate change on human society are and will continue to be overwhelmingly negative.
The majority of the adverse effects of climate change are experienced by poor and low-income communities around the world, who have much higher levels of vulnerability to environmental determinants of health, wealth and other factors, and much lower levels of capacity available for coping with environmental change. A report on the global human impact of climate change published by the Global Humanitarian Forum in 2009, estimated more than 300,000 deaths and about $125 billion in economic losses each year, and indicating that most climate change induced mortality is due to worsening floods and droughts in developing countries.
America’s Changing Climate
Global warming will bring major changes to America’s climate over the coming decades. Some of those changes have already begun to occur and are projected to accelerate if emissions of global warming pollutants continue unabated.
*Temperature: Average temperature in the United States has increased by more than 2° F over the last 50 years.9 Temperatures are expected to rise by as much as an additional 7° F to 11° F on average by the end of this century
under a high-emission scenario.10 Heat waves have become more common and more intense in recent years.
The heat content of the ocean has also increased since the mid-20th century. Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean have increased over the last 100 years during the July to September period, when many hurricanes form.
*Precipitation: Precipitation has increased on average in the United States over the last 50 years. However, the increase in precipitation has not been uniform around the country, with the Northeast and upper Midwest receiving more precipitation on average since the late 1950s and the Southeast and parts of the Southwest receiving less. In addition, a greater share of precipitation is falling in heavy rainstorms and snowstorms, and there have been shifts in the seasonal distribution of precipitation. Scientists project that global warming will result in an increase in the share of precipitation that comes in heavy events and will cause important seasonal shifts.
Virtually the entire United States, for example, may experience drier summers by the end of the century if global warming pollution continues to increase unabated.
Snow cover: Snow cover has decreased over the Northern Hemisphere over the past three decades, with the greatest reductions in spring and summer.The volume of early spring snowpack in the mountain West and Pacific Northwest has declined significantly on average since the mid 20th century, with the greatest losses in more temperate areas subject to earlier spring snowmelt.
Sea level rise: Sea level has risen by nearly 8 inches (20 cm) globally since 1870, with the rate of sea level rise increasing in recent years. Sea level rise is occurring both because of the thermal expansion of sea water as it warms and by the melting of glaciers and ice caps.
Relative sea level has risen along U.S. shorelines (with exceptions in parts of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska) since early in the 20th century, with the greatest relative rise in the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions.
A recent study suggests that global sea level could rise by an average of between 2.5 and 6.25 feet (0.75 and 1.9 meters) by the end of the century, depending on future trends in global warming pollution.
Changes in ocean circulation patterns could result in some areas—such as the northeastern U.S. coastline— experiencing greater increases in sea level than the global average.
Shifts in species and ecosystems: Global warming has already had significant effects on ecosystems, with shifts in the timing of spring events, the observed migration of plant and animal species northward and to higher elevations, and the spread of infestations by insect pests and invasive species.
In addition to these changes, climate science projects that there will be changes in the timing, frequency, severity and impacts of “extreme weather” events, both in the United States and worldwide.
Sea Level Rise and Coastal Storms in a Warming World Global warming will bring higher seas as glaciers and ice caps melt and sea water continues to expand as it warms. Rising sea level will increase the damage that can be inflicted by coastal storms. The implications of global warming for changes in the number and severity of non-tropical coastal storms are less clear, though these storms will likely bring more rainfall.
A warmer world will bring higher seas as glaciers and ice caps continue to melt and sea water continues to expand as it warms.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that sea level would likely rise by 7 to 23 inches (18 to 59 centimeters) by the end of the century.
The inundation of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the need for effective systems to protect low-lying coastal cities from storm surge.
Should sea level continue to rise, the preservation of low-lying cities—including parts of major economic engines such as Miami, New York, and Boston—could come to depend on engineered defenses—defenses that could cost tens of billions of dollars to build and maintain.
Engineered defenses against sea-level rise and associated storm surge flooding
are expensive and, as the case of New Orleans showed, not infallible. Great Britain and the Netherlands have built flood barriers to defend against periodic storm surge flooding that is capable of causing major property damage and loss of life. The Thames Barrier, which protects London from storm surge flooding, was completed at a cost of $1.9 billion, while the Netherlands’ Oosterscheldekering barrier near Rotterdam cost about $3.4 billion.
Other strategies to protect coastal property from global warming-induced sea level rise—ranging from construction of seawalls to stronger building codes to the relocation of people and businesses away from the shore—would also impose economic costs.
Extreme weather events impose massive costs on the nation and threaten the
health and survival both of people affected by those events and of treasured ecosystems.
Recent scientific findings about the potential impacts of global warming on extreme weather patterns provide yet another reason for the world to take action against global warming.
Climate science suggests that there is still time for the world to avoid the worst impacts of global warming—if we take immediate action to reduce emissions of global warming pollutants. While all nations in the world have an important role to play in curbing emissions, the United States—as the world’s second-leading emitter of global warming pollution and the nation responsible for more of the humancaused carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than any other—has a special responsibility to lead.
The nation should move immediately to adopt policies that will reduce America’s emissions of global warming pollution.
*The United States and the world should adopt measures designed to prevent an increase in global average temperatures of more than 2° C (3.6° F) above pre-industrial levels—a commitment that would enable the world to avoid the most damaging impacts of global warming.
*The United States should commit to emission reductions equivalent to a 35 percent reduction in global warming pollution from 2005 levels by 2020 and an 83 percent reduction by 2050, with the majority of near-term emission reductions coming from the U.S. economy (instead of through reducing or offsetting emissions in other parts of the world). A variety of policy measures can be used to achieve this goal, including:
*A cap-and-trade system that puts a price on emissions of global warming pollutants.
*A renewable energy standard to promote the use of clean renewable energy.
*A strong energy efficiency resource standard for utilities that maximizes the use of cost-effective energy efficiency improvements.
*Enhanced energy efficiency standards for appliances and vehicles and stronger energy codes for new or renovated commercial and residential buildings.
*Investments in low-carbon transportation infrastructure—including transit and passenger rail—and to support a transition away from oil to plug-in and other alternative vehicles.
*Retention of the EPA’s authority to require reductions in global warming pollution at power plants as well as retention of state authority to go beyond federal minimum standards in reducing global warming pollution.
* State and local governments should adopt similar measures to reduce global warming pollution and encourage a transition to clean energy.
In addition, federal, state and local officials should take steps to better protect the public from the impact of extreme weather events. Government officials should explicitly factor the potential for global warming-induced changes in extreme weather patterns into the design of public infrastructure and revise policies that encourage construction in areas likely to be at risk of flooding in a warming climate.
Economic disruption: Natural disasters also cause temporary economic disruptions by reducing productivity for the duration of the storm, rendering transportation systems and other types of infrastructure inoperable, and forcing workers and businesses to expend time and resources recovering from dislocation and property damage.
Climate change may lead to dramatic increases in prevalence of a variety of infectious diseases. Beginning in the mid-’70s, there has been an “emergence, resurgence and redistribution of infectious diseases”. Reasons for this are likely multicausal, dependent on a variety of social, environmental and climatic factors, however, many argue that the “volatility of infectious disease may be one of the earliest biological expressions of climate instability”. Though many infectious diseases are affected by changes in climate, vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever and leishmaniasis, present the strongest causal relationship. Observation and research detect a shift of pests and pathogens in the distribution away from the equator and towards Earth’s poles.
The freshwater resources that humans rely on are highly sensitive to variations in weather and climate. In 2007, the IPCC reported with high confidence that climate change has a net negative impact on water resources and freshwater ecosystems in all regions. The IPCC also found with very high confidence that arid and semi-arid areas are particularly exposed to freshwater impacts.
As the climate warms, it changes the nature of global rainfall, evaporation, snow, stream flow and other factors that affect water supply and quality. Specific impacts include:
Warmer water temperatures affect water quality and accelerate water pollution.
Sea level rise is projected to increase salt-water intrusion into groundwater in some regions. This reduces the amount of freshwater available for drinking and farming.
In some areas, shrinking glaciers and snow deposits threaten the water supply. Areas that depend on melted water runoff will likely see that runoff depleted, with less flow in the late summer and spring peaks occurring earlier. This can affect the ability to irrigate crops. (This situation is particularly acute for irrigation in South America, for irrigation and drinking supplies in Central Asia, and for hydropower in Norway, the Alps, and the Pacific Northwest of North America.)
Increased extreme weather means more water falls on hardened ground unable to absorb it, leading to flash floods instead of a replenishment of soil moisture or groundwater levels.
Increased evaporation will reduce the effectiveness of reservoirs.
At the same time, human demand for water will grow for the purposes of cooling and hydration.
That being the case, we have to admit to ourselves that it could last longer than we expect and much more than just a minor inconvenience. Therefore, the best way to prepare is to start with your basic needs. That is the need for light, heat, water, and food. Some preparedness items to stock up on are:
Alternative fuel sources such as solar and diesel, wood for burning.
Food preservation supplies – dehydrators, canners, smokers, fermenting/pickling supplies.
Bulk food – Canned, freeze-dried, dehydrated or dry goods.
Water filtration supplies, rain harvesting supplies and large quantities of stored water.
Light sources: Lanterns, flashlights, candles and matches and alternative light sources
Batteries and chargers
Emergency stove – solar oven, rocket stove, camping stoves, etc.
Wood burning fire place – Central air heating systems, even if they use natural gas or propane, depend on electricity for the blower that will circulate the heated air. When the grid is down, this system will not work. Having a wood burning fire place is an alternative to central heating systems.
Cash money and/or silver or gold currency.
Know How to Get in and Out of Buildings without Power
Know how to get in and out of buildings at home, work and frequented buildings if the power is out, and elevators aren’t working. This seems simple but try it at least once, just to make sure you can find your way with the building black and you only having a flashlight.
Disaster preparation has received a lot of attention in the recent past. In fact, people who live in every corner of the world prepare for various disasters such as famine and war. Some of them even prepare for zombies. It is always better to prepare to face disasters as they can hit us at unexpected times. However, it should be done according to a plan. That’s where The Lost Ways comes into play. This guide follows a scientific approach to help people prepare for disasters. In fact, it would let people know about the secret methods followed by the ancestors to survive disasters. They include a variety of disasters such as droughts, diseases, financial crisis, wars, famines and everything else life threw at them. For More Information about The Lost Ways Survival Guide Click Here