Effects of Global Warming on Human Health

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Environmental problems refer to harmful effects caused by human activities conducted on the surface of the biophysical environment. They include global warming, pollution, acid rain, climate change, urban sprawl, waste disposal, ozone layer depletion, among others. We are living in a continually changing environment, hence the need to increasingly avail information on the effects of such changes to the population. Global warming refers to a gradual increment of the overall temperatures recorded on the earth’s atmosphere as a result of the greenhouse effect which in turn results from high levels of chlorofluorocarbons, carbon dioxide as well as other pollutants. The fact that the planet is warming is an undeniable problem that the current generation has been forced to live with. This study will focus on the positive and the adverse effects of global warming.

Positive Effects of Global Warming

The emission of greenhouse gases is responsible for the following positive effects, which are recorded regarding increased productivity in some industries:

CO2 Fertilization Effect

According to Botkin et al, (2007), carbon dioxide is one of the major requirements for the growth of most plants. An increase of the same in the environment would, therefore, lead to improved agricultural activities in high latitude areas, an increase in the productivity of sour orange trees, longer growing seasons in Greenland, increase in the vegetation growth in high northern latitude, more forest growth as well as more plankton biomass in the north Pacific. The subtropical is also experiencing increased vegetation activity as a result of the same.

Human Health

Winter deaths which are recorded in various areas are expected to reduce as the temperatures warm due to global warming. Although excess winter deaths do not occur in America, winter deaths are expected to reduce in Wales and England as a result of increased temperatures in the earth’s atmosphere, (Knowles & Cavan, 2002). Some researchers have also projected the fact that global warming is likely to lead to lower malaria infection in most parts of Africa. The future effects of global warming are not only expected to be dictated by social and economic developments, but also on the distribution of the costs and benefits of change in the society.


The increase in global warming is expected to lead to an ice-free Northwest Passage. The route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans has therefore been shortened. This will save resources such as time, money, fuel, among others.

Changes in Animal Population

Global warming favors the existence as well as the reproduction of some animals. According to Roessig (2004), the increase in the number of Gentoo penguins and chinstrap is attributed to the rise in temperatures. It has also led to the existence of bigger marmots.

Negative effects of Global Warming

Food Supply

The release of greenhouse emissions affects agriculture and food supply globally. Studies have consistently confirmed the endangering effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, changed transpiration and precipitation processes as well as the raised frequency of the occurrence of extreme events. Low latitude areas are at the highest risk of experiencing modification in pests, weeds and pathogen pressure due to global warming, (Hughes, 2000).

The resultant effect of global warming on food supply is the reduction in both the quality and the quantity. Scholars have confirmed that the impact was less as of 2007, but it will progressively increase in case the emission of greenhouse gases continue. Hughes (2007) proved that his phenology research enabled him to discover the fact that adverse changes in agriculture will greatly affect most parts of the Northern Hemisphere. His projections which were of low to medium accuracy showed that using the data on climate change between 1990 and 2000, the average temperature in between 2090 and 2100 are expected to have increased with 3°C. However, critics claim that his research failed to consider the modern technological methods of reducing global warming.

The reduction in food security which is as a result of global warming has increased the number of people who are at risk of hunger. The projections which were done depending on economic development, as well as social future, indicate that the number of people who were undernourished as at 2006 was eight hundred and twenty million. The results were attributed to the fact that droughts are occurring more frequently due to global warming, a trend that is likely to progressively increase in southern Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, America, and Australia.


Global warming has led to significant changes in sea level rise, precipitation as well as temperatures. The changes experienced by humanity through food quality and quantity, water, settlements, industry, and ecosystems have an adverse effect on human health. It is evident that the impact will progressively increase if the rate at which greenhouse emissions are taking place is not tamed. A recent study by the World Health Organization (Cook et al., 2013) indicated that 3% of diarrhea, 3.8% of dengue fever and 3% of malaria deaths globally in 2004 were as a result of global warming. This accounted for 0.2% deaths, out of which 85% were child mortality. However, the study did not include other causes of deaths that resulted from global warming, for instance, the increasingly frequent and extreme storms.

Water Resources

Global warming has led to rapid changes in sea level, temperature as well as precipitation variability. This has resulted in the observation of rapid trends that affect surface waters, the cryosphere, and precipitation. It is worth noting that the negative effects of global warming on water resources outweigh the positive effects. It is also confirmed that most semi-arid and arid regions will suffer from increasingly decrease in water resources, for instance, Southern Africa, Western United States, Northeastern Brazil, among others.

Migration and Conflict

The changes in climate as a result of global warming are expected to be characterized with wetter coasts, further rises in sea level and drier midcontinent areas. This is expected to lead to high levels of migration, especially from rural areas to urban areas. People will also be displaced from the coastal regions as a result of shoreline erosions as well as coastal flooding. Global warming will, therefore, add incrementally to the existing migration patterns, rather than creating new ones.

Studies have consistently confirmed that increased migration due to unavailability of water resources as well as environmental degradation is likely to raise political and military conflicts. The social impact of global warming is expected to be more severe in case the rates of greenhouse emissions increase in both developing and developed countries. A psychological study conducted in 2014 confirmed that higher temperatures are associated with an increased tendency for people to commit crimes, (Crutzen et al., 2016). Such violent crimes are expected to, therefore, increase in the 21st century, whereby most scholars have termed global warming as a “threat multiplier.” This is because the reduced access to resources such as water and food, increased poverty as well as diseases are likely to lead to more conflicts among humanity, hence causing instability in the world.


Global warming is the primary cause of the severe weather conditions that are being experienced in most parts of the world. Weather changes in the levels, frequency, type as well as the intensity of precipitation have been recorded globally, (Zehr, 2016). There are documented cases of medium to high precipitation even in areas where the average amounts of rainfall have decreased. Reliable predictions show that the amount and frequency of precipitation will increase over time globally, whereby the leading cause has been identified as human activities such as greenhouse gases emissions. There will be progressively reducing levels of rainfall in the subtropics coupled with an increase in precipitation in most equatorial regions. Low to medium accurate projections have also confirmed the likelihood of dry areas is becoming drier while wet areas become wetter in most areas, (Zehr, 2016).

Extreme weather conditions have been projected to be the order of the day due to global warming. According to Nordhaus (2014), the period between 2016 and 2035 is likely to be characterized with a high frequency of hot days while the likelihood of other conditions such as tropical cyclones and droughts are expected to be more intense. The long-term forecasts which covers the period between 2081 and 2100 show that the weather will be characterized with more scorching days as well as freezing nights. This is due to the expected increase in the length, intensity, and frequency of heat waves on the surface of the earth. Temperature extremes are also projected as a result of more greenhouse gases emissions. There will be reduced soil moisture due to the high temperatures which increase the severity and frequency of droughts.

The changes in tropical cyclones that are as a result of global warming vary depending on the region, although studies have confirmed that future projections are highly uncertain. The frequency of tropical cyclones has been observed over the years and found out to be at a reducing pattern. However, the mean of the maximum precipitation and the speed of wind globally have been increasing as global warming increases, (Trenberth et al., 2014).


This study has succeeded in proving that the earth is poised at the brink of environmental problems. Global warming has made the humanity as well as animals vulnerable to multiple tragedies, both now and in future. Like any other occurrences, global warming also has  advantages and  disadvantages. It is worth noting that the cons outweigh the pros by far and should not be used as an excuse for the continuation of greenhouse gases emissions. Most countries have embraced industrialization, hence raising the need for the formulation of global measures that will control the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Although the adverse effects of global warming are dire, have already started to be experienced, and there is no hope for the reversal of the situation. It is worth noting that with the right measures of controlling industrial waste emissions and high compliance, the severity of the effects can be reduced, making the world a better place for future generations. Global warming, therefore, requires urgent attention.


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August 21, 2023



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