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Global Warming

The awareness that global warming and climate changes may have a drastic impact on weather systems hit a very high level during the streak of murderous storms experience in Central and North Americas in the summer of 2005. While scientists are still arguing about the statistical significance of this series of unique events, a chilly feeling is slowly setting on most of us. This module will hopefully add some elements of reflection to the subject.

Weather-related events have an enormous impact on society, as they influence food supply, conditions in cities and communities, as well as access to clean water and energy. For example, a recent report by the Climate Action Network of Australia projects that climate change is likely to reduce rainfall in the rangelands, which could lead to a 15% drop in grass productivity. This, in turn, could lead to reductions in the average weight of cattle by 12%, significantly reducing beef supply. Under such conditions, dairy cows are projected to produce 30% less milk, and new pests are likely to spread in fruit-growing areas. Additionally, such conditions are projected to lead to 10% less water for drinking. Based on model projections of coming change conditions such as these could occur in several food producing regions around the world at the same time within the next 15-30 years, challenging the notion that society’s ability to adapt will make climate change manageable. (reference)

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