Wilderness Underfoot: It’s getting hot, Part 2: Effects of warming

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117329908431965.jpg’, ”, ‘Warming melts ice – and all that water has to go somewhere. Melting mountain glaciers cause erosion, floods, avalanches and mudslides in nearby lower elevations. Melting polar ice caps bring about a rise in sea levels. Worst-case scenarios have sea levels rising up to 200 feet over the next 100 years, which would wipe out Florida and carve into the entire U.S. coastline. This map of Florida (right) demonstrates the effects of a less extreme increase of 15 feet in sea levels. Because heat causes materials to expand, warming has already caused the oceans to expand between 4 and 8 inches.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117329909331965.jpg’, ”, ”);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11732991225355.jpg’, ”, ‘An early spring – In a study published in Nature, Terry L. Root and her colleagues found temperate-zone organisms have begun typical springtime events five days earlier per decade on average —this includes changes in flower blooming, egg laying and duration of winter hibernations. ‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117329900429172.jpg’, ”, ‘Alterations in animal migration – With a warming climate, migratory (and even non-migratory) animals have been extending into regions that were once colder. Insects such as butterflies have drifted more than 100 miles out of their natural ranges. Pathogen-carrying insects, such as certain species of mosquito, have invaded areas in which they were previously unheard of, potentially spreading malaria and other diseases.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117329902831958.jpg’, ”, ‘More erratic and severe weather – Blizzards, floods, hurricanes and tornados seem to be increasing. So are droughts and heat waves, depending on where you live. Oddly, weather disruptions caused by overall warming can also cause severe cold in some locations. ‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117329904531958.jpg’, ”, ‘Warmer, dryer regions – In some zones, scientists see an advantage for plants susceptible to winter damage, but the effects of heat, erratic rains and dry weather are likely to overshadow any benefits. During hot, dry weather, plant growth slows down. Evaporation rates will speed up in many areas, limiting water.‘);

Just a degree or two of global temperature increase is enough to change the nature of our planet.

A growing body of evidence carefully correlated by scientists in such diverse fields as meteorology, geology, botany, oceanography, zoology, and even paleontology, shows global warming is already having an impact on our planet. The following are just a few of the changes caused by warming:

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