BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Global Health: Global Warming



Global warming is the continuing rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system. It is a consequence of climate change and is reflected by temperature measurements and its numerous resulting effects. Global warming has been happening for a long time, however, increased intensity of its effects was observed in the 1900s. Therefore, the term is used mainly to describe the observed and ongoing increase in average air and ocean temperatures since 1900 caused predominantly by the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the modern industrial economy. Although global warming and climate change are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. Global warming is a result of climate change, it is one of the many effect of changes in the climate system. On the other hand, climate change is much broader and encompasses both global warming and its effects including changes to precipitation and other environmental impacts that differ by geographic region. The effects and impacts of global warming are broad and include the following

  • Rising sea levels
  • Regional changes in precipitation
  • Frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves and wild fires
  • Expansion of deserts
  • Destruction of infrastructure and food insecurity
  • Water pollution
  • Reduced water quality
  • Extinction of some ecosystems and species

As the climate becomes warmer, the nature of global rainfall, evaporation, snow, stream flow and other factors that affect water supply and quality change. Surface temperature increases are highest in the Arctic, with the continuous retreat of glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice. Generally, increase in temperature results in more rain and snowfall for some regions while it causes droughts and wildfires in other regions.

Resulting effects of global warming such as increased variability in weather patterns, heat waves, heavy precipitation events, flooding, droughts, intense storms, sea level rise, and air pollution negatively affect public and global health. The specific health effects vary across geographic regions, age, economic resources and populations. More so, global warming may intensify already existing health problems in addition to causing new health issues.

In general, extreme heat events remain a cause of preventable disease and death worldwide. Public health is affected by disruptions of physical, biological, and ecological systems. The health effects of these disruptions may include increased respiratory, kidney and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events such as heat waves and heat stroke, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health.

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