Definition global climate change

Climate Change Science Overview
January 23, 2017 – 02:35 pm
Climate Change versus Global Warmning

Earth's climate is changing

The global average temperature has increased by more than 1.5°F since the late 1800s. Some regions of the world have warmed by more than twice this amount. The buildup of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and the warming of the planet are responsible for other changes, such as:

Click on the image to open a pop-up that explains the differences between climate change and global warming.

Click on the image to open a pop-up that shows a larger version of this image, plus text that explains the differences between weather and climate.

Climate Change vs. Global Warming

The CO2 that humans have added to the atmosphere has caused an increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2. The graph shown here, called a Keeling Curve after the scientist who first developed it, represents the record of increased global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.The term climate change is sometimes used interchangeably with the term global warming. However, the terms do not refer entirely to the same thing.

Global warming refers to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth's surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change. However, global warming itself represents only one aspect of climate change.

Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among others, that occur over several decades or longer. Climate change can occur at the global, continental, regional, and local levels. Climate change may refer to natural changes in climate, or changes caused by human activities.

Weather vs. Climate

The difference between weather and climate is primarily a matter of time and geography. Weather refers to the conditions of the atmosphere over a short period of time, such as hours or days, and typically for a local area. Climate refers to the behavior of the atmosphere over a longer period of time, and usually for a large area.

Familiar examples of weather characteristics include the daily temperature, humidity, or the amount of precipitation produced by a storm. Weather also includes severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards. Because of the dynamic nature of the atmosphere, it is not possible to predict weather conditions in a specific location months or years in advance.

Climate is typically defined based on 30-year averages of weather. Climate represents our expectations for the weather. For example, climate tells us how warm we expect a typical summer to be, how much rainfall would correspond to a wetter-than-average spring, or how frequently we expect a snowy winter to occur. Scientists can compare recent and long-term observations of the climate to detect the influence of greenhouse gases on climate conditions.

Photo of cars on a highway Photograph of clear-cut forest with standing trees in the distance. Photograph of smokestacks and power lines.
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Popular Q&A
What is the definition climate change?

it means weather change basically

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