NotSoNatural Disasters

In This Chapter

^ Considering the watery consequences of global warming ^ Projecting the un-perfect storm ^ Figuring out effects on forests ^ Feeling the heat waves ^ Getting feedback from Mother Earth ajor natural disasters have always happened. Storms, hurricanes, floods, and droughts are all part of the planet's natural weather and climate system.

In the future, however, humanity is going to be facing more and more intense versions of these phenomena — and they're going to be anything but natural disasters. Civilization — or more properly, the greenhouse gases (refer to Chapter 2) that civilization pumps into the atmosphere — will bring them on. Earth could be facing more droughts, hurricanes, and forest fires, heavier rainfalls, rising sea levels, and major heat waves. The excess carbon dioxide that people put into the air might even disrupt the carbon cycle and turn the planet's life-support system into a vicious cycle.

Don't panic, though — you don't need to rush out and build the ark just yet. But this chapter does offer you some very good reasons why civilization needs to start lowering its emissions to cool off global warming.

Welcome to the blue planet. Water covers more than 70 percent of Earth's surface. And because of global warming, you might be seeing a lot more of it. Or less. It all depends on where you live.

Continue reading here: Rising sea levels

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