GLOBAL IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
The Earth’s air, water and land are all linked to the climate. Any small increase in global average temperature over an extended period can trigger a chain reaction of climatic change around the world. Less rain can lead to drought, while too much rain can lead to flooding. More hot days during the year can dry up crops and affect people, plants and animals. In many places, people will struggle to cope with the changing environment.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), world temperatures could rise by between 0.3°C and 4.8°C this century, leading to an expected rise in sea levels between 0.26 m and 0.98 m. In Southeast Asia, the temperature is forecast to rise between 3°C and 5°C, with sea levels rising between 0.4 m and 0.6 m.
Higher temperatures can lead to more ice and snow melting in the summer, leading to flash floods.
While a localised temperature change of 2°C or 3°C may not seem serious, it has grave consequences on a global scale because this temperature increase directly impacts the sustainability of water, food supplies, ecosystems, coastal stability and public health.
The following diagram summarises the environmental impact created by an increase in the global average annual temperature :