Introduction to Climate Change

If there is one environmental issue that has so much divided opinions, it would be climate change. There are two basic reasons for this. The first is that many people get mixed up with ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Global Warming’. The two are not the same, even though they are connected. The second is that many places in the world, have in recent times experienced extremely cold temperatures to the extent that it is ridiculous to mention Global Warming. Research on the evidence of climate change and global warming is now very convincing.

What is Climate Change?

It is simply a change in the climatic conditions of any place. This is different from the day to day weather changes that are reported by weather forecasters. Weather describes what it would be like within short periods and in small locations. Example, it could be snowing in New York and raining in New Jersey. The temperatures may also be very different in these two locations. Climate describes a continued pattern over a very long period of time and over a large geographic area. For example, between November and March, it is very cold all over America and Canada and has been the case for decades or centuries. Therefore we talk of ‘Climate Change’ whenever there is a change in the climatic pattern — and yes, the change could be colder or warmer.  But there is more to this: it also refers to global changes in wind patterns, precipitation, the length of seasons, and to some significant extent, the strength and frequency of extreme weather events like droughts and floods.

So how is this related to global warming?

To put it simply, Climate Change is a result of Global Warming. Global Warming is the average increase in the earth’s temperature. The causes of this increase in temperature of the atmosphere is a result of many factors. There have been changes in the temperatures of many places on earth, but the collective total is showing a rise in the mark. Further to this, Climate Change may be referring to smaller geographic areas, whiles Global warming is related to the entire planet earth.