There may already be extreme weather patterns, but scientists explain some other surprising ways on how climate change will affect the world in the next century or two.
Climate change may already be causing more hurricanes, droughts and other extreme weather patterns, but it will REALLY kick into gear in about a century – that’s when things are supposed to get apocalyptic.
Scientists don’t generally like to talk about the really devastating effects of climate change, partially because they’ve gotten so much backlash even for suggesting it exists. However, an enterprising New York Magazine writer got a group of scientists to explain how climate change will affect the world in the next century or two. As it turns out, some of the ways are pretty surprising.
1. Ancient plagues come back
Ice traps viruses and bacteria and when ice melts, these bugs get released – sometimes still intact. Scientists have already found viruses from the 1918 Influenza epidemic, which killed 100 million people. Researchers think smallpox and the Bubonic plague may also be trapped in the ice. Not to mention all the viruses that existed before humans were even around and have no immunities for.
2. Wars will double
Remember the war in Syria? Droughts caused by climate change may well have contributed to it. And there’s plenty more where that came from. Researchers say that, for every half degree warmer the world gets, armed conflict increases by 10-20 percent.
3. Farmland becomes too tropical to grow food
Most of the world relies on cereal crops like wheat, rice and corn. These plants grow well in places like the Midwest and can’t survive in hot areas like the tropics. So if temperate regions all of a sudden become tropics, people won’t be able to grow wheat anymore.
In theory, colder places like Canada and Russia would become great places for farming these staples. However, it will take a long while for soil to build up, so these regions won’t all of a sudden become perfect substitutes for growing crops.
“If the planet is five degrees warmer at the end of the century, we may have as many as 50 percent more people to feed and 50 percent less grain to give them,” adds science writer, Wallace-Wells.
4. We get stupid
Human brains need oxygen and more carbon in the air means less oxygen. High-end estimates from current trends suggest carbon dioxide will hit 1,000 ppm by 2100. At that concentration, compared to the air we breathe now, human cognitive ability declines by 21 percent.
5. Hydrogen sulfide will eventually kill us
More carbon dioxide in the ocean means the water will get more acidic, which will not only kill fish, it will also increase hydrogen sulfide – a toxic gas.
“Hydrogen sulfide is the planet’s preferred gas for a natural holocaust,” says Wallace-Wells.
Original source: www.treehugger.com