3 Impacts

Global warming has already had  several effects on the environment. Glaciers are shrinking worldwide. Plants and animals, insects and fish migrate to cooler places. Plants and trees flower earlier in the year.  Heat waves are longer and more intense, droughts more persistent and cover larger areas.

There are many more high temperature records broken than for cold temperatures. Sea levels rise. There is a clear loss of thick, multiple-year sea ice in the Polar areas. Polar  glaciers melt rapidly and may collapse in some places. Weather is getting more unpredictable. The precipitation is more intense and lasts longer, giving more severe floods and weather-related damages.


Mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet quadrupled over the past two decades, contributing a quarter of the observed global sea-level rise. Increased submarine melting is thought to have triggered the retreat of Greenland’s outlet glaciers, which is partly responsible for the ice loss. Photo: P. Prokosch

This report estimates that climate change causes 400,000 deaths on average each year today, mainly due to hunger and communicable diseases that affect above all children in developing countries.

Our present carbon-intensive energy system and related activities cause an estimated 4.5 million deaths each year linked to air pollution, hazardous occupations and cancer.

Climate change caused economic losses estimated close to 1% of global GDP for the year 2010, or 700 billion dollars (2010 PPP). The carbon-intensive economy cost the world another 0.7% of GDP in that year, independent of any climate change losses.Together, carbon economy- and climate change related losses amounted to over 1.2 trillion dollars in 2010.
Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A guide to the cold calculus of a hot planet

Impacts: Effects on natural and human systems. In this report, the term impacts is used primarily to refer to the effects on natural and human systems of extreme weather and climate events and of climate change. Impacts generally refer to effects on lives, livelihoods, health, ecosystems, economies, societies, cultures, services, and infrastructure due to the interaction of climate changes or hazardous climate events occurring within a specific time period and the vulnerability of an exposed society or system. Impacts are also referred to as consequences and outcomes. The impacts of climate change on geophysical systems, including floods, droughts, and sea level rise, are a subset of impacts called physical impacts  IPCC, 2014

 Earth relentlessly warms. Globally, nineteen of the last 20 years are now the warmest on record. Forests in the Arctic Circle are aflame, the Southwestern U.S. is mired in a megadroughtstorms are becoming more intenseglaciers are fast receding, and a colossal Antarctic ice shelf has destabilized and threatens to redraw maps all over the globe. The ocean is warming, rising, acidifying, and losing oxygen Deadly heatwaves are more frequent in the tropics and subtropics.

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Home Chapter 3 3. Impacts
3.1 More water vapor
3.2 Sea level rise
3.3 Polar sea ice
3.4 Air pollution
3.5 Acidification
3.6 Health
3.7 Extreme weather
3.8 Economy
3.9 Refugees and conflicts
3.10 Glaciers
3.11 Tipping points
3.12 Biodiversity
3.13 Water
Chapter 4 4. Ecosystems