Global Warming v. Climate Change

We often hear the terms “Global Warming” and “Climate Change” used interchangeably to describe our current environmental conditions.  They are, however, slightly different in scope.

Global warming refers to the rising average temperatures of the atmosphere and oceans across the entire planet.  Scientists report that the Earth’s average surface temperature increased 1.4°F in the last century.  The largest increases have been noted over the past 30 years.

Climate Change refers to the diverse impacts that these increasing temperatures are causing around the globe.  As the additional heat trapped in our atmosphere is circulated around the planet, established weather patterns are being altered.  Different regions, therefore, are being affected in different ways.  Some are getting wetter and others dryer. Many areas are also seeing an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.  In addition, coastal regions are being impacted by rising sea levels.

While the Earth’s climate has changed numerous times throughout its long history, the change happening now is occurring very quickly and the vast majority (97%) of experts agree that human activities are the main cause. Regardless of what we call it, Global Climate Change is a subject of great concern that affects us all.