Global Warming or Climate Change?

Updated: Nov 30th, 2022

The terms global warming and climate change are words that are often used interchangeably, but it’s useful to think of them as cause, and effect..

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


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

Climate change is a reference to the changes in weather patterns that follow after global warming, as a result of the temperature change.

In this sense, think of global warming as the cause, and climate change as the effect. The end result is a multitude of additional symptoms and 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…

Additional symptoms include forest fires, because when excessive draughts dry out vegetation, they make the forests more susceptible to wildfires. The rising temperatures of the oceans leads to the melting of ice caps and glaciers, which not only destroys habitat, it also in turn results in the rising of the sea levels, which leads to coastal erosion and flooding during storms. In addition there are numerous impacts on various species of plants and animals because of destruction and changes in their habitats,- and that’s just to name a few of many!

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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