Some of the effects of global warming include increased melting of land ice, faster rises in sea level and increased temperature averages. It also increases the demand for energy and contributes to extreme weather conditions.
Global warming is a gradual rise in the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere. Higher temperatures cause ice sources to melt at a faster rate. This includes the ice caps covering mountain tops and the blocks of sea ice found in polar regions. Increased melting rate means a quicker depletion of this source of fresh water.
As the ice melts, it flows into the sea and contributes to increases in the sea level. Global warming disturbs the balance of ecosystems by changing the salinity of ocean waters at estuaries. Fish and other organisms unable to adapt die or experience growth or reproductive issues.
Global warming also increases the temperatures at and above the ocean surface. Over the past 136 years the average global temperature has increased by about 1.17 degrees Fahrenheit per century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As of 2015, the highest average global temperature on record occurred in July 2015.
Extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, gain strength in warm, but not cold, atmospheres. Hurricanes strengthen over oceanic waters that are 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. Tornadoes form when hot air clashes with cooler air. As a result, global warming is projected to cause an increased intensity and/or frequency in extreme weather.