Indirect Effects Of Climate Change

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A major indirect effect of climate change on agriculture will be the lower availability of irrigation water.

The main mechanisms through which climate change has an impact on irrigation water are less runoff and groundwater recharge, combined with increased rates of extraction in many parts of the world. The main geographic areas of concern are India, which in the recent past has seen a slowdown in the growth rate of rice yields, southern and North Africa, some of Latin America, and parts of Europe. Droughts and the lack of water may spark or reignite political and military conflict between countries whose water systems are interdependent. The indirect impacts of decreased rainfall and the increased frequency of droughts will drive up wildfire risk and, even in the short-term, change the distribution of pests. Decreased frequency of winter frosts will also affect the spatial distribution of pests. Historically, famines were caused by pests, which are becoming an increasing concern. In addition, marine ecosystems, home to the world's fisheries, will be affected though climate-induced acidification of the oceans.

Impacts on human health due to global warming will come directly from increased heat stress and malnutrition. Additionally, vector-borne illnesses such as malaria will become more widespread in areas near the Equator, whereas deaths from extreme cold may decrease at high latitudes. Further, climate change has already and will further impact ecosystems leading to devastating species loss. The loss of these species affects the global economy through their loss as measured by their existence value and their potential uses in the pharmaceutical and ecotourism sector.

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