Climate change is likely to be one of the greatest causes of species extinctions this century. It is affecting the natural environments of many animals around the world. Sea levels continue to rise, record breaking humidity and temperature levels, changes in wind, precipitation, the length of seasons as well as extreme weather events like droughts and floods. Our everyday lives are affected by this and if anything gets worse, our lives could change forever. What is the effect of climate change on the ecosystem?
“The impact of climate change on a particular species can ripple through a food web and affect a wide range of other organisms.
” (Climate impacts on Ecosystem|Climate Change Impacts| US EPA|). Polar bears for an example, are at risk. They use glaciers and ice caps to walk across and hunt for food. But since the temperature has been rising, the ice caps start to melt and this endangers the animals that live in the arctic because it forces them to swim for longer periods of time and they struggle to hunt food.
Another issue is, “As the earth gets warmer, plants and animals that need to live in cold environments, such as on mountain tops or in the arctic, might not have a suitable place to live.”(Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems, A student’s guide to global climate change). Just like humans, animals need shelter too. Without it they’ll struggle to keep warm when it’s cold or will not have anywhere to go when the weather is extreme.
Plants are also suffering since there is a decrease in water availability and that prevents them to grow. “Temperature, rainfall, and the length of day affect phenophases, or the timing of plant life cycle phases. Seasonal variations impact these phases, but climate change is altering temperature and rainfall patterns, extending growing seasons and shifting them.” (The effects of Climate Change| WWF). If the earth continues to get warmer, plants and animals could become extinct within 100 years.
“Ecosystems can serve as natural buffers from extreme events such as wildfires,flooding,and drought.” (Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems, A student’s guide to global climate change.) The most common reason for strong hurricanes, tornados, severe heat waves, flooding, and snow storms is climate change. The Earth is beginning to encounter problems like these so often because the temperature is aggressively changing. All the different types of storms are causing living things harm and even extinction. People have been losing their homes, jobs, and even their lives because of it. Animals are losing their shelters, food, and also their lives too. Not only does it affect people and land animals but it also affects ocean animals. “As waters warm, cold water fish, including many highly-valued trout and salmon species are losing their habitat. 47% habitat loss by 2080.” (Marine problems:climate change) Since fish and other sea creatures live in the water, their homes are starting to become places that are very dangerous. When the water gets warmer and warmer, the animals suffocate since there’s no oxygen and die. “Big, predatory fish,such as the blue marlin, need more dissolved oxygen than most, because they require lots of energy to grow and survive. Without sufficient oxygen, they’ll suffocate.” (Marine problems:climate change) All ocean animals are now endangered because of climate change and some could become extinct very soon.
Human beings are in danger just like every other living thing. Climate change affects the weather, the food we eat, the water we drink,and the air we breathe. The weather affects us because temperature goes into the negatives, we would get frostbite, our vehicles might not work, the roads are very slippery which is dangerous because you could get into a crash and it could take your life depending on how bad it was. If the temperature leads to hotter days, people are more likely to die from the extreme heat, heat stroke, and dehydration. It is important for our food and drinks to be good enough to take in or else we could get sick, have food poisoning, or even end up in the hospital. Without having anything to eat or drink, we would die. The air is just as important, if we inhale chemicals into our body, we may not see it or feel it right away but it does affect our bodies which could possibly lead to asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. “People exposed to higher levels of ground-level ozone are at greater risk of dying prematurely or being admitted to the hospital for respiratory problems.”(Climate change and plants – Botanic Gardens Conservation International). This is why climate change is so dangerous for everything on this planet and really impacts our daily lives.
Due to the severe problems, everything on Earth is at risk. Climate change doesn’t only affect living things but it also affects many other things too. It is all happening too fast so the animals have no time to adapt to this change. “Any change in the climate of an area can affect the plants and animals living there, as well as the makeup of the entire ecosystem.” (Plants, Animals, and Ecosystems, A student’s guide to global climate change). There are many ways we could try and prevent it but instead we increase it. Instead of driving a car you could ride a bike, switch to an electric vehicle, carpool,or take a public transit. Those preferences including many other things could help save our world and help us live a better life.