What changes are we seeing?

Edith's checkerspot butterfly

What changes are we seeing?

We can already see some of the effects of global warming.

  • Glaciers are melting. The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade.
  • Plants and animals are being forced from their habitats—at least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving closer to the poles. Others are finding their life cycles —nesting, migration, seasonal food sources—out of sync as the timing of the seasonal events they depend on changes.
  • The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years.
  • Malaria has spread to higher altitudes in places like the Colombian Andes, 7,000 feet above sea level, because the mosquitoes that spread the disease are now able to live there.

But scientists anticipate more, and more devastating, change in the future.

  • Global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide.
  • The Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer by 2050.
  • Heat waves may be more frequent and more intense.
  • Droughts and wildfires may occur more often.
  • And more than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050.