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What is Climate Change?

Updated: Apr 1

Are you curious about climate change but do not know where to begin?

Do you think climate change isn’t real?

Climate change affects us all, whether you believe it is real or not.

In this article we will uncover the following:

  • What is climate change?

  • What is the difference between weather and climate?

  • What causes climate change?

  • What does climate change effect?

  • How to help with climate change?

What is Climate Change?

Climate change is an unusual change in average weather patterns in a region over a long period of time. The Earth’s climate naturally changes over time due to slight variations in Earth’s orbit. However, human activity has increased the pace at which the climate usually changes.

Climate change was first recognized in the 1800’s by John Tyndall. John Tyndall presented evidence that gases can absorb heat and over time these same gases could affect the climate. These gases became known as greenhouse gases and affect how warm or cool the Earth's temperature becomes.

What is the Difference Between Weather and Climate?

Weather describes the atmosphere in a particular place at any moment or short period of time. Weather conditions can change frequently or stay consistent during different seasons of the year. Weather conditions involve atmospheric events such as the following:

  • temperature

  • humidity

  • precipitation

  • air pressure

  • wind

  • cloud cover

Climate describes the atmosphere in a particular place over a long period of time. Climate conditions describe the expected weather in a particular place or region in a specific season or time of the year. A region or area’s climate is specified by observing its weather patterns for 30 years or more.

What Causes Climate Change?

Climate change is caused by global warming. Global warming is caused by greenhouse gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere. However, human activity such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, over-consumption and waste have increased the release of these gases. From 1901-2016 the global average temperature increased by 1.8° Fahrenheit.

The main greenhouse gases are the following:

  • carbon dioxide

  • methane

  • nitrous oxide

  • chlorofluorocarbons

  • ozone

  • water vapor

Which of these is not a fossil fuel? (Answer at end of article)

  • Coal

  • Oil

  • Wood

  • Petroleum

What Does Climate Change Effect?

Climate change affects the overall weather conditions that certain regions experience. This could mean more rainfall or drought, severe heat waves or drops in temperature, or even more natural disasters. For example, if Costa Rica is best known for growing mangoes but the average temperature drops to 70° Fahrenheit and it hardly rains, those depending on mangoes would suffer.

The climate does naturally change but human activity has disrupted the pace and environment. However, Earth can withstand climate change, some living organisms will not if climate change is not addressed.

Poll Answer: Wood

How to Help with Climate Change?

Carbon Footprint: “What is Carbon Footprint?”

Pollution: “What is Pollution?”

Global warming: “What is Global Warming”

Composting: “What is Composting”

Recycling: “What is Recycling”

Recycling and Compost Instruction Manual

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