There is little doubt that the effects of global warming on our planet are already visible - in the last century the average temperature has risen around 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 Celsius) - but the greatest single danger, scientists warn, is that global warming will cause a dramatic rise in sea levels, flooding the world's most powerful cities under a catastrophic deluge. Environmental Graffiti has decided to take a look at the apocalypse humanity might be facing...
The effects of global warming cause London to flood under a terrifying deluge of water.
These terrifying pictures illustrate the global deluge that threatens to engulf large sections of the world as a result of unchecked climate change. Huge swathes of development could be submerged, including much of the US eastern seaboard and southern UK. The effect of such a deluge will be to drown some of the world's most recognisable landmarks: the Statue of Liberty in New York, Tower Bridge in London, Tokyo's vivid neon lights - all could potentially be swept away by a flood caused by pollution of the Earth's atmosphere.
Climate change submerges the Golden Gate Bridge under a deluge.
And surely it is the thought of this, a flood of biblical proportions, which is the most terrifying of all the deadly effects of global warming. Droughts, heatwaves, hurricanes and famine are all worrying, but such a titanic inundation would eliminate the centres through which these other disasters could be coped with, leaving us isolated and in serious trouble. As they say: water may sustain life, but in this case it may also be the end of life as we know it.
Climate change has already raised sea levels by between 4 and 8 inches (10 and 20 cm), a significant rise in itself, but nothing compared to the devastating rise of nearly 25 feet (7 m) that would occur if Greenland's enormous ice sheet melted - as scientists predict it will this century.
The White House flood caused by climate change.
The amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere has steadily increased over the last century, largely due to large scale consumption of fossil fuels and other pollutants, increasing the amount of heat that is being retained in the atmosphere. Scientists believe this is one of the prime causes of the warming effect the planet has been undergoing.
The issue is set to dominate the opening sessions of the international climate change conference in Copenhagen this week, when scientists will outline their latest findings on a host of issues concerning global warming. The meeting has been organised to set the agenda for this December's international climate talks (also to be held in Copenhagen), which will draw up a treaty to replace the current Kyoto protocol for limiting carbon dioxide emissions.
Global warming causes a dramatic rise in sea levels with the effect of flooding cities all over the world.
Scientists also warned that higher levels of greenhouse gasses retained in the atmosphere would lead to an increase in the amount of water held by plants in their soil. Moisture evaporates back into the atmosphere through tiny pores called stomata, but higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air cause these holes to reduce in size, leading to reduced water loss from the plant and leaving more water in the soil. The increased amount of moisture in the soil leaves these areas extremely susceptible to flooding, as only a small increase in precipitation is needed to push the soil past saturation.
Global warming will eventually cause cities the planet over to be abandoned as they are consumed by floods.
A temperature increase of only 3 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit would be enough to substantially melt the ice sheet, causing a rise of well over the 3 feet necessary to submerge the eastern seaboard (including New York), and approaching the 6 foot level that would see a large part of Florida flooded. Of course, low lying countries such as Bangladesh or the Maldives would experience the same effect on a much faster scale, along with much of the globe, as these terrifying images show.
Many of the largest global cities in the world could fall prey to a flood of epic proportions induced by this gradual warming process - from Los Angeles to London, and New York to Nassau. There are, however, those who are doubtful, both of the likelihood of a flood at all and of the cause of one if it did occur. On the latter point, many claim that an increase in underlying volcanic activity, coupled with the Earth's natural cycle of heating and cooling, is the more likely explanation for any increase in global temperature. Yet this argument appears to disintegrate when we consider that the sheer rate of current temperature increase is unprecedented, suggesting unnatural causes. Climate change, it seems, is a fact, and is, unfortunately, here to stay.
And whilst these amazing fantasy pictures paint a pseudo-romantic (and almost touching) portrait of the Earth's ruins reclaimed by water - one of nature's great elemental forces - the reality would, of course, be nothing as comfortable to our dispositions. Centuries of culture would be consumed; great monuments to past causes, complex transport systems and age-old centres of commerce all destroyed, not to mention hundreds of thousands of miles of residential housing. Frightening pictures are one thing, but the terrifying reality of the effects that might be induced by atmospheric pollution is quite another.
The city of SHibuya, Japan, covered by a flood caused by the effects of global warming.
And because here at Environmental Graffiti we're sure that, like us, you don't want to see the planet go under, we urge you to consider these pictures next time the issue of global climate change or atmospheric warming comes up. The reality of melting ice caps may come sooner than you think, and its effect may be deadlier than you can imagine. Let's hope, for all our sakes, the scientists are proved wrong - but with a heavy heart, we must admit that somehow, we don't think they will be.
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