47 Alarming Facts about Global Warming

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published April 11, 2017
  • The first animal to go extinct due to global warming was the golden toad in 1989.[5]
  • Climate change could drive as many as 1 in 6 animals and plant species to extinction.[24]
  • The average global sea level has risen by 8 inches since 1870. Additionally, the annual rate of sea-level rise has increased.[4]
  • Each year of the 21st century is among the hottest since 1880.[8]
  • The amount of heat accumulating on Earth because of human emission is roughly equivalent the heat released by 400,000 Hiroshima bombs exploding around the world every day.[17]
  • Cows burping, pooping, and emitting gas release over 13 million tons of methane each year, which is 70% more emissions than the oil and gas industry. After carbon dioxide, methane is the most widespread greenhouse gas.[13]
  • Global warming is breeding swarms of giant mosquitoes in the Arctic
  • Global warming is breeding swarms of giant mosquitoes in the Arctic. Warmer temperatures are causing these giant bloodsuckers to emerge earlier and grow larger.[2]
  • Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius was the first to note in 1896 that fossil fuel combustion could result in global warming.[17]
  • Approximately 31% of white Americans don’t believe in global warming. By contrast, just 11% of Hispanics and 17% of blacks claim there is no solid evidence that the Earth is warming.[15]
  • Global warming will affect Norway the least, and the country of Chad the most.[17]
  • There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now that there has been in the last 800,000 years.[17]
  • The United States represents less than 5% of the world’s population, yet Americans account for 25% of the world’s commercial energy consumption and 22% of the world’s industrial emissions of CO2.[17]
  • Without the atmosphere to create a greenhouse-type effect, the average temperature on Earth would be just 5° Fahrenheit (F).[17]
  • As of October 2015, the Earth had warmed by about 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, when scientists began keeping records[8]
  • Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening.

    - James Hansen

  • Scientists expect a 3.5° F increase in average global temperatures by the year 2100, resulting in the warmest temperatures in the past million years. The last time the Earth was this warm 1.8 million years ago, when sea levels were also 12-18 feet higher.[17]
  • Since the 1950s, Arctic sea ice has declined by 15% and the average annual duration of northern lake and river ice has decreased by two weeks.[11]
  • Over 100 residents of Tegua Island in the Pacific Ocean were evacuated due to rising sea levels and subsequent flooding. They were the first forced relocation due to global warming.[6]
  • Climate models predict the loss of Arctic sea ice earlier and more rapidly than the loss of Antarctic land ice if warming trends continue.[1]
  • Scientists predict that with every degree rise in global temperatures, lightning strikes will increase by 12%
  • Currently there are around 25 million lightning strikes per year. Scientists predict that with every degree rise in global temperatures, lightning strikes will increase by 12%.[10]
  • As Arctic ice rapidly disappears, scientists believe the Arctic will experience its first ice-free summer as early as the year 2040.[7]
  • Average temperatures in the Arctic climates of Alaska, Canada, and Russia have risen at twice the global average in the last century.[7]
  • In 1910, Glacier National Park in Montana boasted 150 glaciers—today there are just 27.[7]
  • Deserts worldwide are increasing as a result of warmer temperatures. At the end of the year 2007, Australia lost 25% of crop production due to desertification.[11]
  • Fossil fuel burning currently adds nearly six billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere every year. Oceans and forests only remove half of this CO2.[18]
  • Rampant deforestation currently causes 20% of the world’s global warming pollution by prohibiting the reabsorption of CO2.c[9]
  • While increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere certainly can increase temperatures, many geologists believe that water vapor accounts for more than 90% of the greenhouse warming effect.[1]
  • Between the first Earth Day in 1970 and the new millennium, human-made emissions of greenhouse gases rose 70%.[23]
  • According to the WWF, global warming could kill off polar bears in the next 20 years.[12]
  • Fewer than 25,000 polar bears currently survive in the wild
  • Since the 17thc century, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 34%.[11]
  • By the end of this century over 150,000 people will have died due to heat-related causes.[17]
  • By 2100, the average global temperature will be 5.8 degrees warmer if current CO2 output continues.[17]
  • One study noted that climate change is negatively affecting birth rates around the world. Hotter days tend to decrease people’s sex drive.[4][21]
  • Global warming and severe natural disasters have left millions homeless and impoverished, which has created desperate people vulnerable to human trafficking.[22]
  • The United States is the worst global warming offender on earth, producing about 27% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. China and Russia round out the top three.[17]
  • Cars amount to three-quarters of all transportation emissions. At the current rate, there will be over a billion cars in 2030, and a billion more by 2050.[17]
  • By 2030, the world will be driven on by more than a billion cars
  • Global warming negatively affects the growth of bamboo, which is almost the sole source of food for endangered giant pandas. It is estimated that 80-100% of bamboo will disappear by the end of the 21st century.[16]
  • Due to global warming, the Amazon forest is turning into desert and the Sahara is becoming greener.[17]
  • Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the ocean’s acidity has increased by approximately 30%.[17]
  • Because sea levels continue to rise in the north, for the first time in hundreds of years, ships are able to travel through the Northwest Passage above North America.[17]
  • Just a one-yard rise in sea level is enough to displace over 100 million people.[7]
  • Climate change costs the United State about $100 billion annually.[14]
  • Approximately 37% of Americans think that global warming is a hoax. About 64% believe that global warming won’t affect them personally.[17]
  • Global warming could change wine-growing regions. Specifically, grape-growers may need to move their vineyards to higher elevations to beat the increasing heat.[3]
  • Parasites usually found in warmer third-world countries are now becoming endemic in the U.S., thanks to global warming. Already, 60 million people in the U.S. are infected with toxoplasma gondii, or the “cat poop parasite.”[20]
  • Glaciers worldwide have lost 890 cubic miles of ice since 1961
  • Between the years 1961 and 1997, the world’s glaciers lost 890 cubic miles of ice.[6]
  • Global warming is slowing the currents of the ocean, such as the powerful Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream, for example, moves water than all the world’s rivers combined. Weakened ocean currents, such as the Gulf Stream, would result in higher sea levels and changing weather patterns.[3][19]
  • Global warming is turning jungle leaves into “junk food.” Specifically, jungle leaves are accumulating more fiber and less protein, making them less nutritious for the animals that feed on them.[9]
References

1Archer, David. Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006.

2Berenson, Tessa. “These Giant Arctic Bloodsuckers are Thriving on Global Warming.” Time. September 17, 2015. Accessed: July 27, 2016.

3Bland, Alastair. “An Upside to Climate Change? Better French Wine.” NPR. March 21, 2016. Accessed: July 29, 2016.

4DeConcini, Christina and C. Forbes Tompkins. “Sea-Level Rise and its Impact on Florida.” World Resources Institute. December 2012. Accessed: July 27, 2016.

5Dell'Amore, Christine. "7 Species Hit Hard by Climate Change—Including One That's Already Extinct." National Geographic.  April 2, 2014.

6Environmental Defense Fund. “Global Warming Myths and Facts.” Accessed: January 17, 2009.

7f “Global Warming Fast Facts.” National Geographic News. Accessed: January 14, 2009.

8Gillis, Justin. "Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change." The New York Times. NOV. 28, 2015. Accessed: April 11, 2017.

9"Global Warming.” Union of Concerned Scientists: Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions. 2008. Accessed: November 27, 2008.

10Goldenberg, Susan. "Lightning Strikes Will Increase Due to Climate Change." The Guardian. November 13, 2014. Accessed: April 11, 2017.

11"IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007." Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Accessed: November 21, 2008.

12Klapper, Bradley. “Global Warming May Kill off Polar Bears in 20 Years, Says WWF.” The Guardian. January 31, 2005. Accessed: July 27, 2016.

13Klotz, Iren. “Gassy Cows Emit More Methane Than Oil Industry.” Seeker. July 10, 2014. Accessed: July 27, 2016.

14Kottasova, Ivana. "Climate Change Could Cost More than $100 Billion a Year." CNN. March 31, 2014. Accessed: April 11, 2017.

15Krogstad, Jens Manuel. “Hispanics More Likely than White to Say Global Warming is Caused by Humans.” Pew Research Center. February 27, 2015. Accessed: July 27, 2016.

16Maskowitz, Clara. “Panda’s Bamboo Food May Be Lost to Climate Change.” Live Science. November 11, 2012. Accessed: July 27, 2016.

17Maslin. M. Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2004.

18Montague, Fred. Environmental Notebook: Observations, Principles, Trends, and Ideas about Life on Earth. Wanship, UT: Mountain Bear Ink, 2006.

19Mooney, Chris. “Global Warming is Now Slowing Down the Currents of the Ocean—with Potentially Dire Consequences.” The Washington Post. March 23, 2015. Accessed July 27, 2016.

20Muller, Daphne. “How Global Warming and Mind-Eating Parasites Are Creating a Global Intelligence Gap.” Big Think. September 13, 2015. Accessed: July 27, 2016.

21Storrs, Carina. “Climate Change is Killing Our Sex Drive, Bringing Down Birth Rate, Study Says.” CNN. November 6, 2015. Accessed: July 27, 2016.

22Sur, Priyali, “Climate Change and Human Trafficking: A Deadly Combination.” The Diplomat. January 25, 2015. Accessed: July 27, 2016.

23Walker, Gabrielle and Sir David King. The Hot Topic: What We Can Do about Global Warming. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc., 2008.

24Zimmer, Carl. “Study Finds Climate Change as Threat to 1 in 6 Species.” The New York Times. April 30, 2015. Accessed: July 29, 2016.

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