Image by Dominik Van Opdenbosch
Oxford Geology Group logo

GEOLOGY | CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT

Image by redcharlie

What happens 
IF global Climate
changes?

Consequences of global temperature rise 

 

Predicting the consequences of global warming is one of the most difficult tasks for the world’s climate researchers. The natural processes that cause rain, hail and snow storms, increases in sea level and other expected effects of global warming are dependent on many different factors. It is also difficult to predict the size of the emissions of greenhouse gases in the coming decades as this can be influenced by political decisions and technological advancements. 

Many of the effects of global warming have been well documented and observations from real life are consistent with predictions.

Oxford Flooding.jpeg

EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS

In the future, a warmer climate may cause more heatwaves, increase rainfall and increase the frequency and strength of storms. Over the past 35 years, there has been an almost fivefold increase in the recorded number of disasters caused by natural hazards, although not all were influenced by extreme weather events 

The number of global reported disasters caused by natural hazards since 1900. This includes those from drought, floods, extreme weather, extreme temperature, landslides, dry mass movements, wildfires, volcanic activity and earthquakes. Overall, deaths from natural hazards have seen a large decline over the past century, but meteorological, hydrological and climatological events have increased since 1980. (Source: Our World in Data).

As the Earth warms up, interactions between the oceans and atmosphere can amplify the frequency and intensity of weather events. These include hurricanes, floods and droughts. Extra water vapour in the atmosphere falls again as extra rain, which can cause flooding. During hot weather, evaporation from both land and sea increases and can cause droughts in regions where there is low precipitation.

Vegetable Farm

FARMING

Agriculture and forestry are two of the main types of land use in the UK. Representing 71% & 13% of UK land area, respectively, these sectors produce food, fibre and fuel, with UK agriculture currently providing around 50% of the food consumed in this country.

Both activities contribute to economic activity, jobs in the rural sector, and the wellbeing of society. Respectively, they generate Gross Value Added of £9.9 billion and £0.5 billion (excluding processing activities) and provide direct employment for 476,000 and 14,000 people.

 

The two sectors also meet or influence other important needs and functions including: provision of clean water and habitats for wildlife; regulation of climate and of water flows; and places for recreation. Any factors that impact agriculture and forestry will therefore inevitably affect the wellbeing of human populations, now and in the future.

Climate-related impacts may occur through gradual change or as a result of more rapid changes triggered by extreme weather events. So far, however, it has been difficult to disentangle the impacts of climate change on UK agriculture and forestry from the many other changes that these sectors have experienced due to technological and socio-economic factors, some of which may have included responses to changing climate conditions. This situation contrasts with the assessment of UK biodiversity, where there is

good evidence for many changes in semi-natural habitats that can be attributed to climate change.