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The Effects of Global Warming Global warming during the past century has been so gradual as to be nearly imperceptible Neither does it adhere to a regular schedule or predictable pattern which perhaps explains why doubters and nay-sayers still dispute the whole idea Their ranks are shrinking however in the face of a growing body of evidence Experts now tell us that if we do nothing to reduce the release of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere we can expect temperatures to rise during the next century from 27 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit 15 to 45 degrees C Even these increases seem small and no cause for alarm particularly here on the coast where ocean breezes usually temper even the hottest days The problem remember is global warming the operative word here is global The increases will be in average temperatures and even then well still probably experience cool spells cold snaps and years that arent as hot as we might expect With rising average temperatures however come increases in the probability of warmer days and more of them For example studies indicate that temperate-zone cities now recording maximum temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit 35 days a year will by the year 2020 swelter under such heat for an additional 50 days a year While many of us might think first of the discomfort inconvenience and expense we would have to bear as the planets climate warms the greatest effects are likely to be far more catastrophic They include the dieback of forests severe drought possibly leading to crop failures and famine and a rise in sea levels which could greatly alter our coastlines not to mention our lifestyles We have already done a great deal of irreversible damage to our atmosphere since preindustrial days For example we expect chlorofluorocarbons CFCs and related atmospheric greenhouse gases to have doubled by the year 2050 Without dramatic measures to decrease emissions worldwide the consequences could be dire
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