Climate change has greatly been influenced by human activities that contribute to deterioration of the environment through activities such clearing of forests, emission of carbon dioxide from automobiles, and release of pollutants from industries to the air or into water bodies. Some of the changes in the environment that have been associated with climate change include rising sea levels, extreme weather patterns, flooding, droughts, increased numbers of tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires. Climate change has also contributed to an increased number of natural disasters occurring on the planet. The increased in these natural calamities may affect sports seasons and interfere with athletes or sportsmen abilities to function optimally during their competitions.
Projected Effects of Climate Change on the Environment in 50 Years
Rise in Sea Level
The effects of climate change have contributed to rise in sea level, which has also increased the number of storms in water bodies. According to evidence obtained by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the rise in sea level has been influenced by factors such as erosion of glacier or ice sheets, glacial retreat near the grounding line of the sea, which destabilizes ice flow and increases risks of breakage of the upper ice sheets. Aside from that, other factors such as thermal expansion also contributes to warming of the water bodies and melting of the ice (Letcher 328). Since the start of the industrial revolution in the 18th century led to the rise of sea level. These processes will continue to promote the rise of the sea level by approximately three feet by the end of the 20th century (Zakour and Gillespie 6). These effects will in turn affect the environment and normal sporting activities.
According to the government, the global mean rise in sea level is projected to increase from between 26 and 55 cm under low carbon dioxide emission cases to approximately 45-86 cm in cases of high emission of carbon dioxide by 2080. This was in comparison to the changes between 1986 and 2005. After the year 2100, the sea level will also continue to rise depending on the emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in the future. This increase sea level rises would be propagated by melting of massive ice melts, which are irreversible. (Department of the Environment and Energy: Future climate change; Dennis and Mooney). As such, in the next 50 years, the sea level rises can be approximated to be between 26 and 45 cm.
Global Rises in Temperature and Shifting Rainfall Patterns
The effects of climate change contributes to raises of the earth’s temperature, which in turn leads to increases frequencies of droughts. The global temperatures are expected to increase from 0.3 to 1.7oC under low emission cases to between 2.6 and 4.8oC in the next fifty years. As such, hot days and heat waves are expected to increase, while cold days are expected to decrease. According to these prediction most parts of the world are likely to experience more frequent, longer, and intense cases of droughts in the future (Department of the Environment and Energy: Future climate change). The increased in droughts are associated with global warming and drying of the surface of the earth.
An example of the continued effects of climate change on the earth is the case of Oklahoma State, which went through one of the hottest summers in the country in 2011. Such hot seasons are expected to increase in the future (Romm 43). This would increase cases of heat waves and droughts. California has also been affected by numerous droughts, which are projected to increase by approximately 20 percent in the future (Gillis). The droughts in California affect food production, which in turn affects the general economy in the country and its ability to host sporting activities of support their players whenever they are going to other countries to compete. Increases in the earth’s temperatures will lead to increased cases of wild fires in future, which will contribute to destruction of property and land. The Thomas Fire that occurred in 2017 consumed approximately 281, 893 acres of land in Santa Barbara, California (McGinley). These trends are projected to increase it the future with higher frequencies of fires experienced especially in semi-arid areas.
Aside from that, global warming has also contributed to shifting of rainfall patters. In future rainfall is projected to increase in areas located in higher latitudes and near the equator. At the same time, the level of rainfall is expected to decrease in the sub-tropics regions. Extreme rainfalls that contribute to flooding are also expected to increase in most regions (Department of the Environment and Energy: Future climate change). These changes in rainfall patterns will lead to greater evaporation of water from the earth surface, water bodies, and increased air temperatures. The continued shifts in rainfall pattern will also continue to promote flooding in areas that receive minimal rainfall. This would affect the economic outcomes of activities conducted during reasons that do not experience much rainfall because of cases of flooding in these areas in the future. The changes in rainfall patterns will also lead to expansion of dry regions are currently considered semi-arid areas (Department of the Environment and Energy: Future climate change). Expansion of dry areas can contribute to reduced land for productivity and usage.
Effects of Climate Change in Sports
Rise in Sea Level
The continued rise in sea levels increases harsh storms in water bodies. In 50 years, the number of storms are also projected to increase due to the sea level rises. This could have great effects on sporting activities conducted on water bodies such as open-water swimming, scuba diving, deep sea diving, boating, surfing, sailing, and rowing among other open water sports. The rise in sea levels would contribute to erasing many major cities and some of the countries off the world map. This would affect major sporting centers in countries located near water bodies that host these games. Increase sea level contributes to accumulation of seawater on land that was previously used for other purposes such as stadiums. Aside from that the damage caused by hurricanes and floods on stadiums will continue to affects the schedules of sporting activities in the future. For instance, Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Wilma affected the schedules of many football games that were supposed to be held during that season (Hurricanes vs. Stadiums: Stewart Explains Why The Massive Structures can Withstand Storms). Aside from that, it would also limit sportsmen from participating in preparatory exercises due to the challenge of storm surges in oceans.
Areas such as South Florida, Bangladesh, Shanghai, Virginia, and some parts of Washington D.C. could be completely emerged in water in future as the sea levels continue rising. Storms, hurricanes, and floods that push water as far as the storm, which caused Hurricane Sandy could destroy some parts of the East Coast through higher hurricane frequencies as compared to that of Sandy (Dennis and Mooney). This would further limit the ability of sportspeople to participate in sports.
Global Rise in Temperature
During sporting activities, athletes lose heat through sweating and evaporation of the sweat from their skin because of the thermal regulation in their body and the condition of their environment. Heat stress, heat waves, and other cases of high temperatures in the environment challenge the limitation of the human body in sports performance in terms of the functionality of the cardiovascular system, homeostasis regulation, and alteration of bodily fluids and electrolytes (Aljazeera). Although athletes are encouraged to reduce the effects of hot climates on their performance buy consuming an increased amount of fluids, before, during, and after their performance, this might still not curb the effects of hot temperatures in the environment 50 years from now.
Games conducted in cities such as Manaus in Brazil have previously experienced extreme hot temperatures that were as high as 80 degrees during sporting seasons, with humidity levels being as high as 70 percent. Athletes playing in such condition experienced cramping of muscles. These high temperatures usually lead to increased core temperature in the body, which leads to hyperthermia. Aside from that, these high temperatures also contribute to dehydration. These two effects lead to decreased endurance during sports and the muscles ability to repeatedly contract and relax over long periods. High body temperatures also lead to shifting of the energy production in the body to focus on cooling the body. High body temperatures in the body of athletes during exercise or sporting performance has also been associated with decreased blood flow to the heart as most of the blood flows closer to the skin to promote sweating as a cooling mechanism. Inadequate flow of blood to the heart reduced its ability to pump oxygenated blood to the muscles used during endurance sports. Dehydration among athletes reduces the level of the maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 Max), which reduces the ability of the muscles to utilize the available oxygen. Although heat acclamation can be used to increase athletes endurance to heat through intake of fluids and practicing in hot areas, prolonged participation in sports during high temperatures is still associated with cramping and dehydration (Casa 33-35). The effects of heat stress on the body of athletes promoted ineffective performance and may lead to more health complication in future based on the increased earth temperatures.
Increased temperatures will also affect winter games, which rely on extreme cold weathers for efficiency. More than half of the cities, where winter games are conducted will be too hot for winter games to be held there. Research has shown that the average increase of temperature is projected to increase by 2050 by an extra 1.9 to 2.1oC during Winter Olympics. By 2080, these temperatures are projected to increase by 2.7 to 4.4oC over their current levels (Aljazeera). This would reduce the level of snow during the winter season and affects sporting activities such as skiing and snowmobiling that rely on the level of snow and the coldness of the winter season.
For example in 2010, in Vancouver, the snow began melting before the winter games began and in 2014, the temperatures in Sochi reached 20oC during the winter games season. The glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere continue to retreat as the temperatures of the earth increase. In the country, some ski and winter games seasons are expected to be 50% shorter by the beginning of 2050 as compared to their current state and 80% shorter by 2090 (Aljazeera). In the future, the economic state of the country is expected to decline based on its reliance on winter games, which currently generate approximately $72 billion per year. The effects of global warming on athletes’ body and its consequent effects on the environmental areas where these games are conducted will only worsen 50 years from now.
The shifting rainfall patterns contributes to flooding and heavy rainfall during sporting seasons. This affects the ability of sportspersons to participate in sports due to the damage caused by flooding water, mud, and rainfall. Players participating in sporting activities during these seasons struggle with traction due to a compromise of the integrity of the sporting fields (Aljazeera). Installed practicing equipment in football fields and other sporting areas will continue to experience damage in future due to heavy rainfall, flooding, and the damage caused by these natural disasters.
The effects of global warming started more than 50 years ago and continue to have an impact on the planet and its inhabitants. The effects of climate change such as raising sea level, global warming, and shifting rainfall patterns contribute to stronger and more frequent storms, hurricanes, and hot temperatures, which have great effects on sporting activities. Continued emission of carbon dioxide in the environment in future is likely to increase the effects of climate change on sports. 50 years from now, people might experience some of the sports might be cancelled due to these harsh climatic conditions.
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Casa, Douglas J. Sport and Physical Activity in The Heat: Maximizing Performance and Safety. Springer, 2018. Print.
Dennis, Brady and Chris Mooney. Scientists Nearly Double Sea Level Rise Projections for 2100, because of Antarctica. 30 March 2016. Accessed https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/03/30/antarctic-loss-could-double-expected-sea-level-rise-by-2100-scientists-say/?utm_term=.f6043bcfdb6d. 11 December 2018.
Department of the Environment and Energy: Future climate change. 2018. Accessed http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/climate-science-data/climate-science/climate-change-future. 11 December 2018.
Gillis, Justin. California Drought is made Worse by GLobal Warming, Scientists Say. 20 August 2015. Web. 9 February 2018.
Hurricanes vs. Stadiums: Stewart Explains Why The Massive Structures can Withstand Storms. 10 October 2016. Accessed https://ce.gatech.edu/news/hurricanes-vs-stadiums-stewart-explains-why-massive-structures-can-withstand-storms. 11 December 2018.
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