What Are the Likely Impacts of Global Warming if it Continues at Current Rates?
Most experts agree that at current rates of greenhouse gas build-up, the climate could warm by about 3.5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit sometime after 2050, and the average global temperature might rise even higher. The expected consequences of such warming include major disruptions to agriculture, water supplies, and the diversity of life on Earth. The Greenland ice sheet could disappear in several thousand years. Hurricanes and typhoons are expected to become more intense. Precipitation is expected to increase at high latitudes and decrease in subtropical areas. Moreover, if greenhouse gases continue to build at even a moderate rate, experts predict that sea levels will be 7 to 24 inches higher by 2100, causing devastating erosion and flooding of the coastal cities and villages where millions of Earth's inhabitants live.