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Global Warming or Climate Change?

Updated: Sep 20th, 2022

The terms global warming and climate change are words that are often used interchangeably. But there is a difference that you should be aware of: global warming and climate change, equals 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


Definitions

As you surf the internet and read on various websites, or books, and blogs, you will see the terms ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ are commonly used interchangeably. And, for the most part, they are here on this site as well. But what is the actual difference between these words?

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

Climate change is defined as the long-term changes in the weather patterns that come as a result of temperature change.

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

These effects include an impact on both rainfall and weather patterns, ranging from extreme weather events like heat waves, to droughts, to hurricanes and flooding.

As a result of this heat, further impacts include forest fires, the melting of ice caps and glaciers, the rising of the sea levels, as well as impacts on species and the accompanying destruction of their habitats all across the board.

Just to name a few…


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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What is Deforestation?


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