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Environmental Effects

Environmental Changes and Projected Effects

The International Panel on Climate Change predicts the following effects are likely, very likely, or virtually certain changes in extreme events and associated effects between now and 2100 (IPCC, 2007):

Projected Change

Agriculture and Forestry

Water Resources

Human Health/Mortality


Warmer, more hot days, nights over most land areas
Increased yields in colder environments; decreased yields in warmer environments
Effects on water resources relying on snowmelt
Reduced human mortality from decreased cold exposure
Reduced energy demand for heating; increased demand for cooling; declining air quality in cities; reduced effects of snow, ice
Increased warm spells, heat waves over most land areas
Reduced yields in warmer regions due to heat stress at key levels; increased fire danger
Increased water demand; water quality problems; algal blooms
Increased risk of heat-related deaths
Reduced quality of life for people in warm areas without air conditioning; impacts on elderly and very young
Increased heavy precipitation events for most areas
Damage to crops; soil erosion, inability to cultivate land, waterlogging of soils
Adverse effects on quality of surface and groundwater; contamination of water supply
Increased deaths, injuries, infectious diseases, allergies, and dermatitis from floods and landslides
Disruption of settlements, commerce, transport, and societies due to flooding
Increased areas affected by drought
Land degradation, lower yields, crop damage and failure; livestock deaths
More widespread water stress
Increased risk of food and water shortage and wildfires; increased risk of water- and foodborne diseases
Water shortages for industry and societies; reduced hydropower generation potential
Increased number of intense tropical cyclones
Damage to crops
Disruption of public water supply because of power outages
Increased risk of deaths, injuries, water and foodborne diseases
Disruption by flood and high winds
Increased number of high sea levels
Salinization of irrigation and well water
Decreased freshwater availability due to saltwater intrusion
Increase in deaths by drowning in floods; increase in stress-related disease
Costs of coastal protection versus costs of land use; relocation