Effects of Climate Change

Environment

Climate is the long-term average of a region's weather. For example, it is possible that a winter day in Mumbai is chilly and cloudy but the climate forecast is cool and sunny. Climate change represents a change in these long-term weather patterns. The climate can become warmer or colder. Annual amounts of rainfall or snowfall can increase or decrease. 

Climate change is a reality: Due to climate change in Orissa, Kanhapur village has lost most of its land to a storm wherein water flooded up low lying areas. The village water pump that was once in the heart of the village, now stands in the middle of a beach. Having lost their land, the villagers are clinging onto the last pieces of slightly higher ground.

In Holland, Dutch scientists have found that the population of migratory species has fallen by an astonishing 90% in the last two decades in some areas. To understand the cause of this, they traced the migratory pattern of flycatchers. These agile and acrobatic birds travel to West Africa during the winter and return to Netherlands in the spring to lay their eggs. When the hatchlings emerge, the parents feed them caterpillars.

This unique pattern of migration has evolved over thousands of years to match the 3-week period after Dutch flowers have bloomed when caterpillars are most abundant. However, due to climate change and warmer temperatures plants in some parts of Netherlands are flowering 16 days earlier. Since the birds in West Africa don't know this, they time their return around the usual time. The early spring induces them to lay eggs a little earlier, but they miss the main caterpillar season by a week. This results in inadequate nourishment and has led to a fall in the population of flycatchers.

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