Climatic change and its effect on society have been significant over the years on Earth. These changes have affected society in more than one way. However, there is nothing society can do about the long-term influences of climatic changes.
Society has tended to address the short-term effects of climatic changes that influence global temperatures within the lifespan of present generations. The following will show how climatic changes affect society, health, and economics. Society depends a lot on natural resources for various aspects. First of all, society depends largely on forests to supply trees, which in turn supply wood for construction.
Other resources include oil and animals (livestock). The focus is on the Western Canadian Boreal Forest, which is a large producer of wood for the United States construction industry. However, climatic changes have had a large and impacting effect on the construction industry. Compared to eastern Canada, the southern boreal forest region of western Canada has a relatively dry climate.
Thus, drought effects are one of the major concerns being addressed by researchers in this region. Climate modellers have predicted a large increase in temperature for this region, which could lead to even drier conditions and enormous stresses on vegetation in the western Canadian boreal forest. This type of impact was observed following the 1988 drought when there was a die-back of aspen over extensive areas of the aspen parkland in Western Canada. Associated with this drought was a drying up of large lakes in the region.
Another potential impact for the region is a major increase in forest fires due to the fact that fire frequency is closely linked to moisture levels, which are expected to decrease under climatic change. Thus, it is noticed that the future of this forest in supplying lumber is decreasing with increased climatic change, and the construction industry will face a slight drawback. This drawback in the construction industry’s output will also affect the economy and society. The decrease in output means a decrease in jobs, which in turn hurts society. Contrary to the example of the forests in Canada, information on its agriculture is different.
Because average temperatures are expected to increase more near the poles than near the equator, the shift in climatic zones will be more pronounced in the higher latitudes. In the mid-latitude regions (45-60 latitude), the shift is expected to be about 200-300 kilometers for every degree Celsius of warming. Since today’s latitudinal climate belts are each optimal for particular crops, such shifts could have a powerful impact on agricultural and livestock production. For example, in the Canadian prairies, the growing season might lengthen by 10 days for every 1oC increase in average annual temperature. Another example is the impact of climate change on water, which is essential for all life.
Thus, if water were affected by climatic changes, society, health, and economics would also be impacted. In areas where climate change causes reduced precipitation, freshwater storage reserves, primarily in the form of groundwater, will steadily shrink. Areas where more precipitation is not matched by increased evaporation would experience floods and higher lake and river levels. An increase in extreme events such as droughts and floods would undermine the reliability of many critical sources.
Diminished snow accumulation in winter would reduce spring runoff, which is vital for replenishing lakes and rivers. A 10% decline in precipitation and a 1-2°C rise in temperature could reduce runoff by 40-70% in drier basins. Worsening droughts, combined with the overexploitation of water resources, would cause salt to leach from the soil, raising the salinity of the unsaturated zone (the layer between the ground and the underlying water table). In coastal zones, a lowered water table would draw saltwater from the sea into the fresh groundwater. Additionally, higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are expected to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis in plants, which could, in turn, cause more rapid evapotranspiration. Together, these effects would have extremely negative consequences for river watersheds, lake levels, aquifers, and other sources of freshwater. As seen in the information, these consequences would negatively impact society, agriculture, and economics.
Society would have lower levels of freshwater. Agriculture would also have lower levels of freshwater to survive on. Because of this, the economy would be affected since more work will need to be enforced to revitalize the sources of freshwater or find more. It can be seen through these previous examples that society is affected by various forms of climatic change. Thus, if society is affected, so is the health of people within the society, and economics are also affected. It is basically like a continual cycle that persists with a relation between climatic changes and the effects it has on society, health, and economics.