What is climate change?

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Climate Change is a marked change in Earth’s overall weather patterns or average atmospheric temperatures. Climate Change is different than weather. Weather is the short-term changes in local atmospheric temperatures (from minutes to weeks), while Climate Change is long-term (usually over decades).

Earth’s temperature has cooled and warmed on large scales for its entire existence, examples of these large warming and cooling events can be found around the mass extinction events like the “Ice Age”. Today the weather warms and cools every constantly, always changing from day-to-day. The difference between the Climate Change we are dealing with today and other extinction events or day-to-day weather patterns is that today’s climate warming patterns have been directly furthered by man’s actions. It is important to understand that while Earth will always have large-scale climate change events and weather will always change daily, the overall patterns of Man Made Climate Change are seen on a large scale in heating patterns over hundreds of years.

The Greenhouse Gas effect is when gases like Carbon Dioxide and methane get trapped beneath the layers of gases surrounding a planet (atmosphere) which causes them to absorb the energy from the sun. The more gases are trapped in the atmosphere, the more heat is trapped. This leads to a long-term warming effect on the planet as a whole, sometimes referred to as Global Warming or Man Made Climate Change. From burning of fossil fuels to run factories and transportation (cars, trains, planes), to the clearing of rainforests for the grazing of methane emitting cows, our excessive Carbon Dioxide, and methane production have caused a Greenhouse Gas effect in the atmosphere.

NOAA records all but one of the sixteen warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. Scientists and 98% of authors of scientific research papers agree that humans are the cause of Global Warming. The warming of the earth is not good for human life in the long term. The warmer the world gets, the more arctic ice melts. The more arctic ice melts, the warmer the ocean gets as the sea levels rise around the world. The warmer the ocean gets, the harsher our storms and droughts become. When sea levels rise it affects people who live in coastal areas, these people and other forms of life are already starting to see the effects of Climate Change right at their doorstep.

Further reading

Do not lose hope! There are many people working to educate the public and help reverse Global Warming.