Global warming has been defined as a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth's atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants.
Climate change has been defined as a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
It is easy to see that global warming and climate change, while referring to a similar cause (increased emissions of atmospheric carbon dioxide production), are indeed two very different things. The former refers to an obvious increase, while the latter refers to a change.
Why is this duplicity a problem?
Global warming and climate change have been often used interchangeably, while we have seen that one refers to an actual increase in temperature while the other to changes. Global warming is often easier for people to understand, it is a simpler term, referring to an actual phenomena (a trend, the increase) compared to 'change' an unknown, and and this is in my opinion what has lead to the rise of 'climate change deniers' who follow the global warming definition while referring to changes in general.
Is the climate changing or warming?
In my opinion, there is no denying that atmospheric emissions are changing our planet, yet those living in certain regions which are seeing increases in the frequency of storms, snow, number of days with temperature below freezing, may find difficult to believe that the climate is warming...
What is happening? In very brief, the climate is warming, and the warmer atmosphere is leading to the melting of the ice in the polar caps. Still with me? After melting, the resulting water ends up in the ocean. 'But the ocean is full of water, what can some extra liquid change?' I hear you ask ?? The problem lies in the fact that melted ice is freshwater, which has a different density compared to seawater. Thus, this freshwater input is leading to changes in ocean waters movements alas currents.
Currents play an important climatic role, most of you in Europe may be aware of the role played by the Gulf Stream, bringing warm water from Mexico up to the shore of Western Europe, warming our regions. Studies are beginning to show that this current is slowing down, being weakened, meaning that in the North Atlantic regions this climate warming is actually bringing colder temperatures.
I am a firm believer in climate change, which as we have seen originates with global warming, so neither terms are bad or wrong. However, i am also a firm believer that sticking to the term climate change may be more useful for everyone to agree that it is something that is,indeed, happening and that we should definitely act upon to slow down or mitigate...
Disclaimer: some posts may contain affiliate links. At no extra costs to you, buying through the link will help me in this blogging journey!