Atmosphere And Weather

Difference between Global Warming and Climate Change

Elizabeth M Young's image for:
"Difference between Global Warming and Climate Change"
Image by: 

Global warming and global cooling are actually two types of climate change. The confusion arises when people confuse weather, which is a specific event, occurring at a specific place and during a specific time with climate.

Climate is the activity of the entire earth's atmosphere. All of it is referred to as climate. More confusion arises when the myriad of ways in which climate is measured and observed and in the myriad of ways in which the data is aggregated and interpreted. For example, the carbon dioxide, particulate and temperature levels are measured in hundreds of ways and the data is aggregated over years, not in a snapshot of time. The shortest time period might be a decade, with a hundred years as a preferable time frame when discussing climate.

The long term collection, interpretation and averaging of data over long periods of time are the keys to understanding the term: climate. In understanding the term climate change, then any observations that are outside of the average are aggregated to determine if a trend or a significant change is going on.

The problem in discussing climate change and global warming lies in the disagreement between the various measurements, the fact that mankind is a long way from measuring every part of the entire planet's atmosphere and in the fact that records needed for a comprehensive and decades long collection of data will not exist for a long time!

In some cases, climate measurements are focused on specific areas, such as particulate matter in the atmosphere. Carbon and volcanic output are the two most prominent issues.

In other cases, the gases in the atmosphere, primarily Carbon dioxide or CO2, are the focus. The relationship between CO2 and such areas as the health of the oceans and whether human activity is having an impact are the hot button issues of climate change and global warming.

But it is a simple process to state that global warming, by some measures, is a period of time where the average temperature of the entire climate has risen. While there will be periods of rises, drops, or flat temperature change, as with the overall first decade of the 2000s, with the exception of 2008. In 2008, there was actually a drop in the average temperature of the planet's atmosphere.

As a result the projections, estimates and forecasts are overwhelmingly in favor of an increasing trend in global warming that is described as an increase in the global atmospheric temperature that is outside of the average or the norm that is presented in data that is collected from around the world, with significant gaps in areas where data is impossible or difficult to collect, or where data is sketchy.

In summary, global warming is a type of change to the average temperature of the climate.

More about this author: Elizabeth M Young

From Around the Web