I have this simple question. Have you noticed Climate Change?
I believe the summer heat has helped many in the northern hemisphere to notice that something is going on. However, climate change is not only extreme heat but a lot more.
Lots of news are covering the record temperatures that are registered in places never seen before. Lots of articles are talking about the deaths these high temperatures cause. All of them are true, but no one mentions the effects on the environment that supports our food chain and the animals that live on this planet too. Crops and animals, suffer a lot, and they don’t have an air conditioner to cope with the heat or an air purifier to cope with the air pollution.
Ground-level ozone causes more damage to plants and trees than any other air pollutant. Ozone penetrates leaves through stomata (tiny openings present on the epidermis of leaves) during gas exchange. Ozone is a strong oxidant, and it causes several types of symptoms, including chlorosis (yellowing of leaf) and necrosis (the death of the tissue).
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
NOx can directly damage plant cells and indirectly affect growth by promoting ozone formation. At high concentrations, nitrogen dioxide forms acid rain (lower the pH) which is potentially harmful to plants, as it can injure leaves and reduce growth and yield.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
According to researchers, high CO2 levels cause plants to thicken their leaves, which could worsen climate change effects because they would be less efficient in sequestering atmospheric carbon, a fact that climate change models to date have not taken into account.
There is a belief that higher CO2 concentration in the atmosphere can boost crop production but climate change comes with more baggage. CO2 actually reduces plant growth when combined with other likely consequences of climate change, like higher temperatures, increased precipitation, or increased nitrogen deposits in the soil.
Heat affects crops in different ways and causes decreased photosynthesis, leaf senescence, decreased pollen production, seed abortion, and consequently lower grain number and grain weight in crops. Not only that, temperature swings could be just as harmful to crops and livestock as the heat itself.
According to a new study, intense rainfall is as damaging to crops as high temperatures and excessive droughts. Climate change alters temperature and rainfall patterns, resulting in increased yield of some crops and decline of others.
We can make a lot of assumptions, but we have to be very careful with the data and results. In my opinion, one thing is for sure, we have been changing the environment very rapidly, and the planet is not able to keep up with our demand for uncontrollable and unsustainable growth.