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There is now evidence that greenhouse gases are eroding the upper atmosphere (stratosphere) causing it to decrease in size. This could result in a decrease in the ozone layer which protects us from the sun’s ultra violet rays.


These are increasing in China due to lower snow cover and precipitation in Mongolia and stronger winds causing dust storms to reach the capital Beijing


Recent studies show that these are melting at twice the rate of 20 years ago. This acceleration will initially cause flooding downstream, but subsequently there will be less melt water for people to use. This is a particularly severe problem for rivers which are fed from the Himalayan glaciers on which 1.7 billion people depend.

The other concern associated with melting glaciers is the growth of glacial lakes, which are increasing number and size. When these lakes reach a certain size, there is a risk of their dam wall collapsing giving rise to catastrophic floods downstream.

Rising global temperatures

An average 1º C temperature rise has already been observed since the start of the industrial era (ca 1750), and if this trend is continued, irreversible changes in climate could occur. Based on existing scientific evidence, the IPCC has recomanded that it is essential to limit the average global temperature rise to 1.5º C.

Whilst an average temperature rise of 1.5º C might not seem a lot, the fact is that such temperature rises are not uniformly distributed throughout the globe. Polar regions have experienced much higher temperature rises leading to concerns about melting ice sheets, rising sea levels and changes in the circulation of ocean currents particularly in the Arctic region.

Extreme weather conditions

Other predictions of climate models suggest more extreme weather conditions – these include tropical storms, extreme heat and cold, flooding and droughts. Such events have occurred with increasing frequency in the past decade with loss of lives, crops and livestock.
[link to adaptation]

Shifts in rainfall

An equal concern is possible shifts in rainfall (precipitation) in sub-arid areas like the Sahel area if Africa which may require inhabitants to migrate to other areas which are already inhabited. In previous eras when the climate changed, migration was possible because there was a small global population.

Melting of glaciers

It is widely acknowledged that glaciers are sensitive to climate change and there is substantial evidence of glaciers retreating ever since the end of the Little Ice Age associated with the years 1600 to 1700. Measurements from satellite images reveal that 94% of the glaciers have retreated, 4% exhibited no overall change and 2% have advanced.

melting of glaciers

In the Himalayan mountain range which stretches for 1200 miles in Asia, the melting of the glaciers has doubled in the past 20 years with more than a quarter of all ice lost over the past 40 years.
Glaciers in the Caucasus mountains of Asia which are receding.



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