Most people agree that the long-term effects of global warming will be disastrous for the planet and its inhabitants. But predicting the exact future impact it will have is a very complex task. Those who make predictions about its long-term effects are not likely to do so with one hundred percent accuracy.
Some of the difficulties inherent in forecasting future effects of global warming have to do with those same factors that make it hard for meteorologists to predict the weather correctly on a day-to-day basis. Winds can cool the air or warm it depending on the direction they take. Cloud cover can cool a hot day. Air masses move and cause storms as cool fronts and warm fronts collide. Ocean currents can change the temperature of the land on which they strike. The earth’s atmosphere is constantly in a cycle of evaporation and precipitation. As ice melts in the Polar Regions due to global warming, the ocean temperatures are affected. Evaporation rates are in flux. The courses and speeds of ocean currents cannot be predicted with accuracy. This hard-to predict web of weather and global warming are a series of interrelated events, many of them difficult to foresee.
The task of predicting the future impact of global warming is made more difficult since the actions of people to prevent or expediate it are unknown. Currently there is a strong trend of underdeveloped nations striving for modernization. In the past this has meant using the cheapest industrial equipment available and hence causing a great deal of pollution. However, it is possible that these countries will decide to put an emphasis on preventing global warming and embrace greener technologies.
Increases in world population increase the likelihood of global warming. Statisticians can make educated guesses as to how much the world population will increase, but a number of factors play a part in population growth dynamics. These factors include biological ones, governmental policies, and global economics.
Cars make a huge contribution to greenhouse gases at the present time. Cars with greater fuel efficiency could cut those emissions, and they have already been developed. Research continues to improve their performance. There is a question, though, as to whether the people of the world will embrace these vehicles. A high initial cost will probably prevent poor people from having a hybrid or other fuel efficient vehicles. The extent to which this technology is made available to people from lower income brackets will affect how much greenhouse gas emissions can be cut by their use.
While it is nearly impossible to predict the future of global warming with complete accuracy, it is a subject worthy of consideration. By being able to accurately estimate the damage it will cause, there is more motivation to try to stop it.