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The consequences of global warming

Group discussion : the impacts of global warming

In groups of 3-4, read the following extracts and then answer the questions that follow.

By 2050 Warming to Doom Million Species, Study Says

By 2050, rising temperatures exacerbated by human-induced belches of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could send more than a million of Earth's land-dwelling plants and animals down the road to extinction, according to a recent study. "Climate change now represents at least as great a threat to the number of species surviving on Earth as habitat-destruction and modification," said Chris Thomas, a conservation biologist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.

The researchers worked independently in six biodiversity-rich regions around the world, from Australia to South Africa, plugging field data on species distribution and regional climate into computer models that simulated the ways species' ranges are expected to move in response to temperature and climate changes. According to the researchers' collective results, the predicted range of climate change by 2050 will place 15 to 35 percent of the 1 103 species studied at risk of extinction.

National Geographic News, 12 July 2004

Global Warming May Dry Up Africa's Rivers, Study Suggests

Many climate scientists already predict that less rain will fall annually in parts of Africa within 50 years due to global warming. Now new research suggests that even a small decrease in rainfall on the continent could cause a drastic reduction in river water, the lifeblood for rural populations in Africa.

A decrease in water availability could occur across about 25 percent of the continent, according to the new study. Hardest hit would be areas in northwestern and southern Africa, with some of the most serious effects striking large areas of Botswana and South Africa.

To predict future rainfall, the scientists compared 21 of what they consider to be the best climate change models developed by research teams around the world. On average, the models forecast a 10 to 20% drop in rainfall in northwestern and southern Africa by 2070. With a 20% decrease, Cape Town would be left with just 42% of its river water, and "Botswana would completely dry up," de Wit said. In parts of northern Africa, river water levels would drop below 50%.

Less river water would have serious implications not just for people but for the many animal species whose habitats rely on regular water supplies.

National Geographic News, 3 March 2006

Discussion questions

  1. What is meant by 'biodiversity'?
  2. Explain why global warming is likely to cause a loss of biodiversity .
  3. Why do you think a loss of biodiversity is of such concern to conservationists?
  4. Suggest some plant or animal species in South Africa that you think might be particularly vulnerable to extinction if temperatures were to rise significantly. Explain why you chose these species.
  5. In what way do people, animals and plants rely on river water?
  6. What effect do you think a 50% drop in river water level in some parts of Africa would have on the people living in these countries?
  7. Discuss some of the other likely impacts of global warming that we can expect (e.g. sea level rise, melting of polar ice caps, changes in ocean currents).

Questions & Answers

what is the difference between intramolecular and intermolecular forces
Xiluva Reply
please help me here how do the molecular masses of the compounds change?
Khutso Reply
how to calculate atom mass
Mbali Reply
how do water molecules form
Mukonazwothe Reply
water molecules consist of two atoms of hydrogen linked by covalent bonding to the same atom of oxygen ...hydrogen bonds are formed easily when two water molecules come close together , but are easily broken when the water molecule moves apart again
similarity between vander waals forces and hydrogen bond
Angel Reply
type of intermolecular forces between 2 hydrogen and 2 oxygen
when an atom X of an element in Group 1 reacts to become X+
Rhulani Reply
You have O.5 dm^3 of a KNO3 solution of concentration 0.2 M .You need to dilute this solution to get a solution of concentration 0.18M. calculate how many cubic cm of H2O you need to achieve this
Thimna Reply
im really struggling with this question please help me
what is a radium
Zieniengie Reply
when 3.22 moles ofAl react with 4.96 moles HBr, how many moles of H2 are formed?
Devina Reply
how can we calculate the displacement?
Etaya Reply
can u tell me how to understand newtons law
Mutandanyi Reply
well they are many way to understand newtons but my way of understand it is to look every object around and think of what type of law has been applied in that object but fist state the law so you can get use to it
what is matter
Mutandanyi Reply
matter is any thing that has mass and occupy space
newton's first law of motion
Modiehii Reply
how to calculate resultant?
Future Reply
resultant of what?
ohm law
Ohm's Law
how do you calculate magnitude of acceleration
Hlolohelo Reply
u use the formula fnet equal mass

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 11 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11241/1.2
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