Global Warming is an important issue with many negative effects on the environment. Global Warming is the gradual increase of the earths surface temperature over time. The process is caused by both manmade and natural gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.
Rising sea levels are closely linked with global warming. The sea level has risen four to eight inches only over the last half of a century . Recent studies show that by the year 2100 sea levels will have risen two and a half to six and a half feet . This is being caused by three major reasons thermal expansion, melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, and ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica. Thermal expansion is when the water temperature rises and as result of the increased temperature the water expands. Polar ice caps and glaciers usually partially melt each summer but snowfall in the winter normally would balance out the melting. However the increasing temperature has caused more melting in the summer and less snowfall in the winter. The ice shelves in Antarctica and Greenland have also been melting at an accelerated pace causing them to break away into the ocean. The rising sea levels will eventually have devastating consequences to animal life and people living in coastal regions. Erosion, contamination of soil , and flooding will all lead to a tragic loss of coastal animal habitats. Homes on the coast will be more susceptible to flooding and other damage. Some islands could even eventually be completely submerged under water . Global Warming is also impacting Coral reefs. The warming ocean waters are causing coral to expel algae. This process is known as bleaching. In 1998 sixteen percent of the oceans corals reefs suffered from this. certain fish species that make coral reefs their home have been dropping in numbers due to bleaching. Coral can regain the algae in a couple weeks to a few months but if the coral remains bleached for an extended period of time then it will remain bleached. The melting Arctic permafrost releases Nitrogen and carbon into the atmosphere . Permafrost is permanently frozen rock water and soil. Over the next hundred years forty four billion tons of Nitrogen and eight hundred fifty billion tons of carbon could be released into the atmosphere. The gasses are found under the melting ice. This could cause warming to happen twenty percent to thirty percent faster. This melting does not only cause temperatures to rise but it causes trees to lean over this is also known as drunken forests.
Not only does the melting ice cause gases to be released into the atmosphere and sea levels to rise, but it has made Polar Bears an endangered species. Some scientists predict that by 2050 the species could become extinct. Polar Bears diet consists mostly of fatty marine animals such as seals which they hunt from the ice. In the Summer months when the ice melts away the Polar Bears food supply becomes restricted. Every year ice is melting sooner forcing the bears back to land before they have stored enough food to last them the summer. Sometimes the bears become stranded on the melting ice before the they have reached land and are forced to swim for a tiring extended period of time before reaching