Examples of Global Warming: Impact and Possibilities

, Staff Writer
Updated April 15, 2021
global warming concept Earth temperature hotter
    global warming concept earth temperature hotter
    filo / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license

Global warming refers to climate change as a result of greenhouse gases. Experts believe that if people don't make an effort to stop air pollution and the release of greenhouse gases, climate change resulting from global warming will change the world. Discover many examples of global warming that have already occurred, as well as others that are predicted to happen in the future.

Rising Temperatures and Global Warming Examples

Global warming is the rise of temperatures throughout the Earth. Some examples of global warming include:

  • As of 2019, the average surface temperature of the Earth was 1.17 degrees Celsius higher than the average for the pre-industrial timeframe of 1880-1900.
  • The increasing temperatures aren't uniform everywhere. In some areas, the Earth's temperature has already increased by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times. Approximately 20 percent of the population lives in areas that have experienced this level of temperature rise.
  • In 2010, 200 nations agreed to try to limit the global average temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius to try to avoid the dangers of climate change. However, meeting this goal may be difficult as scientists warn that more fossil fuels are being burned and more greenhouse gases are being emitted.
  • Extreme weather, such as increasingly destructive hurricanes, droughts, floods, and wildfires, are linked to climate change.
  • The rate at which sea levels are rising throughout the world is increasing. This is due to both the melting of glaciers and the thermal expansion of the oceans as they absorb atmospheric heat increases caused by emissions.
  • Widespread decreases in the extent of snow and ice is an example of global warming. Glaciers have been shrinking for several decades, with the rate of melting increasing exponentially over the last decade, destroying the habitat of polar bears and other animals that live in arctic regions.
  • Reduced sea ice and melting glaciers lead to damaging ice erosion.
  • Snowfall totals, the depth of snow and the amount of land covered by snow each year are also decreasing as a result of climate change.
  • Warming of the Earth is occurring at high northern latitudes. Some warming is expected to occur over the southern oceans and the Northern Atlantic, but most warming will be occurring in northern areas.
  • The melting of the polar ice caps has increased rapidly. Scientists have reported that they are now melting six times as rapidly as they did during the 1990s.

These are the current or expected effects of global warming that some experts observe or predict with reasonable certainty.

polar bear standing on ice in Norway
    polar bear standing on ice in Norway
    Paul Souders / Stone / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license

Examples of Global Warming in the Future

The specific impact of climate change is uncertain. However, future global warming could result in these changes.

  • Some climate models predict that there will be a nearly complete unfreezing and de-icing of the Arctic by September 2037.
  • Various computer models used by scientists predict that the Earth's average temperature could rise as much as 4 degrees Celsius during the 21st Century.
  • Winter in freezing areas in Michigan, South Dakota, Alaska and throughout the world could eventually resemble winters in warm weather climates like Florida.
  • A major rise in sea levels is also anticipated. Manhattan, California and other coastal areas could find themselves underwater with homes and buildings destroyed and people displaced. The Golden Gate Bridge, an icon of San Francisco, could be partially underwater as could Manhattan subways and iconic buildings in New York City.
  • A continued decrease in global production could occur. With people less able to grow food and produce things, overall wealth declines. This tends to have the most dramatic impact on the poorest countries where people are very reliant on agricultural pursuits.
  • Trouble for fisherman and those why rely on ocean animals for their livelihood is also expected. Some predict that tropical regions will experience as much as a 40 percent reduction in seafood catch by the year 2050.
  • A reduction in species diversity could occur. This could have untold impacts on the food chain and could result in the loss of plant life with potential medicinal purposes that could save lives.
  • Widespread death due to air pollution and other consequences of excess greenhouse gases and rising temperatures could happen. Again, this is likely to hit the poorest countries the hardest even though it is the industrial countries that would be largely responsible for global warming.

Get to Know Global Warming

These are just some of many examples of global warming. The fact is that the full extent of the consequences and effects of global warming is still being determined, and the ultimate consequences of continued climate change are an open question. It's important to learn as much as possible about the natural world and how humankind impacts it. If you're ready to expand your knowledge, start by learning more about the oceans and seas. Then, explore the differences between global warming and climate change.