Climate Change: What it Means

climate change lesson

Global Warming Vs Climate Change – What do these words mean and what’s the big deal?

Simply put, GLOBAL WARMING is the increase of the Earth’s average surface temperature, due to a build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

CLIMATE CHANGE is a broad term that refers to long-term changes in climate, including average temperature and precipitation.

Lets get to some of the nitty gritty. First, in regard to global warming, what the heck are “greenhouse gases” anyway and what do they have to do with the warming up of the atmosphere? And why does this matter anyway? Greenhouse gases occur naturally. There are many types of greenhouse gases, some of the most well known are nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor. These gases aren’t “bad things” and in fact serve to keep our planet at a very hospitable temperature that supports all kinds of life, including our own. As we increase the amount of these gases in the atmosphere thorough human induced occurrences, or through ‘anthropogenic” means, (a fancy word for “human caused”) we are making our atmosphere thicker, trapping the suns radiation and heating up the planet. Its kind of like putting a warm blanket around you; this blanket traps your ‘body” heat, making it warmer under the blanket than it would have been without it.