Global warming is understandably a hot topic of the 21st century. With strong grassroots and government efforts underway to significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions from human activity, some wonder exactly how bad global warming might become. Global warming predictions run the gamut from little or no effects to islands sinking, mass flooding, and species die-offs at a rate unknown since the dinosaur extinction. Winnowing through the popular global warming predictions, many focus on exactly how much the climate will change, a question no one can answer as of yet.
There remains a large community skeptical of manmade global warming. Some believe that the campaign to stop global warming is an anti-business agenda, while others think that the Earth is warming through natural, rather than man made efforts. Many skeptics tend to agree that climate change will be minimal, and is part of the natural warming and cooling episodes of the planet. Global warming predictions from skeptical scientists and believers suggest that while humans contribute a small amount of harmful gas to the atmosphere, the planet is capable of caring for itself.
On the flip side of the coin, global warming predictions can certainly begin to sound like disaster movies. Some extremists espouse global warming predictions that suggests rises of up to ten degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) by the year 2100, which would have the potential to lead to massive changes in the planet's ecosystem. In extreme global warming predictions, oceans would rise, while the collapse of several large icepack systems could inundate coastal regions throughout North and South America.
Most global warming predictions considered reputable suggest that an increase between one and six degrees Celsius (1.8-10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, should the rate of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions go unchanged. Even this lower increase could have devastating effects on the planet and its inhabitants. Polar ice in the Arctic, which is already shrinking at an alarming rate, could disappear entirely, destroying an already fragile ecosystem. Ocean water temperature increases and pH change may lead not only to more frequent and unpredictable hurricanes, but also cause the extinction of many ocean-dwelling species. The rise of the oceans may also cause serious problems for coastal cities like San Francisco and Manhattan.
With the exception of skeptical arguments suggesting that everything will adapt, global warming predictions carry varying versions of the same message: something must be done to prevent this. It is unlikely that humans will be able to reverse the damage done to the atmosphere before serious global warming occurs, yet there is still hope. By implementing strong laws and regulations that massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the progress of global warming may slow, giving science more time to figure out how to not only reduce but reverse the warming trend.