Global Warming Versus Global Climate Change

Various media sources are full of “global warming” references, while some prefer “climate change”. Global warming seems to have a much bigger impact in our minds as images of a scorching-hot Earth filters through our conscience. So what is the difference?

According to NASA global warming is “a gradual increase in the average temperature of Earth’s surface” (NASA, accessed 2015). It’s easiest to then breakdown climate change by looking at climate alone. Climate “encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elements in a given region over a long period of time” (NASA, accessed 2015). Therefore, climate encompasses a range of variables, while global warming refers solely to temperature. The definition of “climate change” is “a long-term change in the Earth’s climate, or of a region on Earth” (NASA, accessed 2015).

Scientists prefer to use global warming to describe the average global temperature increase from human emissions (greenhouse gases, etc).

It’s important to note that temperature change isn’t the most severe effect of changing climate, which tends to be the assumption when many people hear it on various media sources. Changes in precipitation and sea level could have a much greater human impact (e.g. less land availability, flooding, etc).

There are many more implications of climate change that we may not see in our lifetimes, but is important to consider for future generations.

Definition sources via NASA: (and to read more)

Whats in a Name? Global Warming vs. Climate Change | Precipitation Education. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/articles/whats-name-global-warming-vs-climate-change

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Read a post about Carbon Dioxide’s Greenhouse Effect (Confirmed)

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