Composite findings of about 2,000 scientists do not augur well for future years due to the alarming rate the earth's lower atmosphere is warming up. The world is being warned of hunger and thirst for millions (even billions) due to global warming. The continuous emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane has worsened the situation especially in the most recent years. Global warming has triggered climate change in all parts of the world, most apparent of which is the warming of the polar zones which has flushed water from the melted ice to the oceans, disrupting the ecology and the affecting the lifestyle of thousands of people.
Millions of homes (pegged at 7 million) could be washed away by sea levels that are continuously on the swell. The Great Barrier Reef, the pride of Australia and the refuge of most of the world's most treasured sea creatures, (the living reef in itself considered as the biggest organism in the world) could die in just decades, the same reports say. This is part of the draft of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming Awareness 2007 or IPCC. This highly compelling study from IPCC is a significant development it has always been reputed for no-nonsense (neutral), highly statistical (cautious) reporting.
Australia is a focal point in one part of the reports, warning on the effects of warmer and more acidic seas on the Great Barrier Reef (mainly coral bleaching) by 2030. This detrimental effect is caused by the death of the corals, leaving only its skeleton (used to be sold but is now prohibited as decorative items tourist shops).
In the report, scientists say that the coast northeast of Australia known as The World Heritage would be most damaged by warmer temperatures. This means extinction of more than 133,000 square miles of underwater living wonders.
Over the past century (reference year 1900), global temperatures on the average have risen from 0.7 to 0.8 degrees. This has been documented as the culprit in the ongoing death or bleaching of the Indian coral reefs, as well as those in the Indian Ocean. Warmer temperatures also means more evaporation increasing the concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere, another influencing factor that has increased the greenhouse effect over the oceans by 4% over the past 35 years.
Once temperature increase reaches 2 - 3 degrees above that in 1900, Australias alpine zones will totally be gone. Another scary consequence would be the imminent total destruction of Amazon forest system of South America. The greatest casualty: biodiversity.
As with any late realizations, global warming awareness is not without tradeoffs in regards to human and economic costs, which is relatively higher in poor countries. Many African countries are now being debilitated by very serious water shortages. Flooding of coastal areas in low-lying regions is now a common phenomenon. Hardest hit are Bangladesh and many islands along the Pacific.
Other alarming consequences of global warming include:
Killer heat waves . They will be worse, will last longer, and will be more frequent than that of summer 2003 which hit southern Europe.
Stronger, more destructive tropical storms and hurricanes. There will also be marked increase in rainfall and flooding of coastlines.
High probability of ice-free summers in the Arctic, ongoing melting of mountain glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets.
Significant rise in sea levels. Even if carbon dioxide levels will be stabilized, the world will still stand witness to higher sea levels 0.43 meters higher in 2100 and 0.8 meters by 2300.