Global Warming vs. Climate Change: What's the difference?

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Difference between Global Warming and Climate Change

Global warming and climate change are two of the most serious environmental problems that we have had to deal with in recent years, and their effects are quite far-reaching and significant. While both occurrences are seemingly one and the same, they actually have a number of distinct characteristics, as you will see in this comparison article. 

Definition

Global warming is the term used to refer to the increase in the average temperature of the air near the Earth's surface and the oceans. This phenomenon is thought to have begun in the 1950s, and it is expected to continue well into the future.

Climate change is a long-term change in the distribution of weather patterns. This phenomenon may occur from periods ranging from decades to millions of years, and it may be characterized by a change in weather conditions or the distribution of weather changes as they relate to an average. These occurrences may also be apparent only in certain regions, or they may occur simultaneously all over the world.

Contributing Factors

The current global warming is thought to be the result of natural warming and cooling trends that have been occurring for millions of years. In addition, factors such as greenhouse gases have been pinpointed as possible triggers for the trapping of heat in the biosphere. Although the intensity of the sun is also considered a mitigating factor, its role is considered much less significant than the aforementioned factors.

Climate change is also caused by numerous factors, and the phenomenon is often tied in with global warming. In any case, the term climate change is generally used in reference to how warm or cool temperatures are, as opposed to the increase in global temperatures.

Effects

Global warming is expected to result in a wide range of adverse effects, among them the melting and eventual disappearance of glaciers and snow-caps that supply the rivers of the world with water. Much of this water is actually used for drinking and irrigation, hence the widespread alarm over global warming.

Global warming is also expected to cause a rise in sea levels all over the world, due to the melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. A probable result of this is increased exposure of islands and coastal areas to storm damage and the risk of submergence.

As for climate change, its effects may cause certain areas to become drier, while some will conversely become wetter. A number of areas may also experience severe weather conditions such as heat waves, hurricanes, floods, torrential rains, and hail storms.

Similarities and Differences

Global warming

  • Increase in the average temperature of the air near the Earth's surface and the oceans
  • Thought to have begun in the 1950s
  • Expected to continue well into the future

Climate change

  • Long-term change in the distribution of weather patterns
  • Characterized by a change in weather conditions or the distribution of weather changes
  • May cause certain areas to become drier, while some will conversely become wetter

Comparison of Global Warming and Climate Change Video

 
 

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