I just hate it when people mispronounce my name! Some pronunciations that I hear include Ash-ah, Ay-shay, Asia, and most commonly, Ay-sha. Constantly, I’m telling people, “No, it’s Ah-sha!”
But what does that have to do with climate change?
Many people think that the terms climate change and global warming mean the same thing. For the longest time, I did too. Toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe, right?
What’s the difference?
Let’s take a look at the two terms. The definition of global warming is:
The key word there is : “increase”.
Now, the definition of climate change:
Climate change is the long-term shift in weather patterns in a specific region or globally.
Climate change isn’t only an increase, it’s a “shift”.
That’s because this issue (climate change/global warming) has different effects in different parts of the world. In some areas (such as the arctic), temperatures are rising, whereas in other areas, temperatures are falling. Some areas are experiencing extreme drought, while others are experiencing extreme flooding. It’s for this reason that many people believe that climate change isn’t real.
However, scientists beg to differ.
All of these problems can be traced back to one major problem: that too many gases are being trapped in the atmosphere. Remember the greenhouse effect from this post? Here’s a little review.
- When we pollute the air with gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, these gases gather in the atmosphere.
- These gases in the atmosphere (called greenhouse gases) trap the sun’s heat in.
- As too many greenhouse gases fill the atmosphere, too much of the sun’s heat is trapped and temperatures rise.
You might be wondering how this could possibly cause temperatures to cool in places. Well, as the temperatures rise from the greenhouse effect, more and more arctic ice melts. This ice interferes with the normal current flowing through the northern Atlantic. As more fresh water from the ice pours into this current, the “conveyor belt” that circulates warm and cold water in the ocean is presented with a barrier.
This is a complex topic, so I’ll leave the cooling process at that for now. Want to read more? Check out this link.
So when we say “global warming”, we are only referring to the warming effect. But when we say “climate change”, we are referring to both the warming and the cooling effects. As scientists learn more about the environment, the term “climate change” is becoming more and more accurate.
I hope that this post wasn’t too complicated. But many people use the cooling effect of climate change as proof that it doesn’t exist, while both warming and cooling can be traced back to the greenhouse gases that cause these changes.
Do you have any questions? Ask me in the comments!