Global Warming or Climate Change?

Updated: Nov 30th, 2022

The terms global warming and climate change are words that are often used interchangeably, but to deepen our understanding it’s useful to think of them as cause, and effect. Here’s a super-quick look at a few of them!

Draught conditions can lead to an increase in forest fires. A fire burns out of control on a mountain hillside in the Pike National Forest.. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Climate Change is making Atlantic hurricanes more intense, frequent, and destructive, with the same results worldwide.. Photo Credit: Getty Images


The term Global Warming is defined as the gradually increasing trend in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. But these small changes in temperature are known to correspond to large changes in our climate.

The words Climate Change are a reference to the changes in weather patterns that follow global warming. In other words, the changes in climate that come as a result of the increasing temperatures.

In this sense, think of global warming as the CAUSE, and climate change as the EFFECT. The end result of this cause and effect cycle is a multitude of additional symptoms and what can be called ‘ripple effects’.

According to NASA’s Vital Signs of the Planet, these effects include an impact on rainfall, and range from heat waves, to droughts, to hurricanes, and to flooding…

Changes in rainfall and draught conditions can contribute to forest fires,- because when excessive draughts dry out the low-lying vegetation, they make the forests more susceptible to wildfires.

The rising temperatures of the oceans causes the ice caps and glaciers to melt, (which not only destroys habitat for certain species, aka,- the poster-child polar bear!), but also causes the rising of the sea levels, which contributes to coastal erosion and catastophic flooding during storms!

But all this is just to name a few. There are numerous impacts on all kinds of species of plants and animals because of global warming and the resulting destruction and changes in their habitats..

Forests cover more than 30 percent of the land area on our planet, and they play a critical role in preventing climate change. Photo Credit: Getty Images

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