CLIMATE CHANGE vs GLOBAL WARMING
Are they the same thing, and if not, what is the difference?
For answers, let’s look to some things we already know.
First, consider a few things that science has provided:
Medicine, Surgery, Dental solutions, Eye Glasses, artificial limbs, Hearing Aids, Blood Pressure Cuffs, Pacemakers, Stethoscopes, Defibrillators
Airplanes, Cars, Trucks, Trains, Subways, Ships, Submarines, Spacecraft
Cameras, Microscopes, Telescopes, Satellites, Thermometers, Altitude Meters, Anemometers, Compasses, Depth finders, X-rays, MRIs, C-Scans, PET-Scans, Mammography
Lights, Fans, Refrigerators, Stoves, Ovens, Microwaves, Dishwashers, Washing Machines, Dryers, A/C, Heaters, Radio, Television, Stereos, Computers, Telegraphs, Telephones, Cell Phones, DVD Players, Recorders, Projectors
Paper, Cardboard, Plastic, Rayon, Nylon, Vinyl, Glass, Fiberglass, Steel, Asphalt, Cement, Aluminum products, Copper products, Porcelain
Cloud Seeding, Rain Gauges, Wind Power, Water/Steam Power, Solar Power, Weather Balloons, Tornado tracking, Tsunami/Earthquake/Volcano Seismographs, Pollen Detectors
What science is able to predict about weather
We know about air currents and jet streams and how they affect weather patterns such as snow storms/blizzards, dust storms, hurricanes, cyclones, rain storms and their intensity, and tornadoes. Meteorologists can tell you within hours, sometimes within minutes, when an event will be in your area.
We can be informed about tsunamis in time to find higher ground. Warnings come early enough for us to evacuate during hurricanes and cyclones. Sometimes the information just helps us pick what route to take when driving or traveling. Other times, warnings regarding tornadoes, dust storms or heavy rain give us enough time to find shelter. We can even find information that shows the tendency for drought conditions and fire danger. All of this depends on equipment invented by scientists from before Aristotle to the space experts of today who have studied weather patterns and developed methods of measuring data.
We also know there are things we can’t do anything about, such as sun flares, which can adversely affect electronics and also give us marvelous light shows, (if we happen to be close enough to the north or south poles,) called the Aurora Borealis. The sun and its flares can constitute a major risk for astronauts and even airplane pilots, though. Risks include cancer and vision problems.
Right now, most of us are protected by earth’s atmosphere, so although we can get cancer from over exposure to the sun’s rays, we can also use sun screen or hats to help reduce the risk. Our atmosphere dilutes the rays, so that it takes a much larger concentration to hurt us than it does with pilots and astronauts who don’t have any atmospheric protection. The concern becomes – what is happening as the earth’s atmosphere is weakening due to carbon emissions and other pollutants (sometimes called greenhouse gases) coming from earth?
What is the difference between Climate Change & Global Warming?
Global Warming was an early term used to reflect what’s happening at the earth’s poles, where ice is melting and not being replenished. It still exists and affects more than just the North Pole and South Pole. Ice is also melting at an accelerated rate in places like Iceland, Canada and Alaska. One of the side effects of this is rising sea levels. Ice that would normally remain on land is sloughing off into the sea. When measured in inches, it doesn’t seem like much, but over time inches become a foot or more. Think about adding ice cubes to a nearly full glass of water. At some point, the water is going to overflow. There are several threatened communities already, where the ocean is taking homes and land.
In Shismaref, Alaska, inhabitants are moving their town back – away from the sea.
Shismaref, Alaska – 2005 (Photo: AP Photo/Diana Haecker)
In the Solomon Islands, several smaller islands have already been swallowed by the ocean. Others are rapidly losing shoreline.
Solomon Islands, 2013
Climate Change is a more inclusive term and includes the resulting changes seen in various areas of the earth, such as worsening storms, additional flooding or drought, and more and hotter forest fires. In some cases, it actually causes colder weather in the winter cycle, only to rebound with a hotter summer. In other places, the winters become milder with less snowfall, which decreases the amount of water the area receives in the spring as there is less snow to melt.
In this case, one argument is that the earth has undergone major changes over its history, long before we had automobiles, factories, and oil production. That is absolutely true. We’ve all heard of the great Ice Age. There have actually been several ice ages, of lesser degrees. We’re nearing the end of one right now. However, it isn’t one that we or our near ancestors would recognize as one. It started several thousand years ago, and has been receding now for centuries. Many factors figure into what finally causes the ice to recede. Some 20,000 years ago, earth’s inhabitants found that they were able to migrate a bit farther north (or south, in the southern hemisphere.) There are several things that might have contributed to that phenomena.
The earth has, indeed, had its positioning change in our solar system. The earth’s axis tilts slightly over long geographical periods of time, meaning thousands of years. But as we orbit the sun, our tilt (which is currently at a specific 23.5 degrees and pointing in the general direction of the North Star,) is leaning towards the sun for half the year. The other half of the year it tilts away causing our seasonal changes. We’re also exposed to gravity by other celestial bodies that pass nearby from time to time. Even the moon has a pull of gravity that affects our tides. Meteors have also pierced the atmosphere and slammed into earth. It’s possible that at one time, the earth’s orbit was brought closer to the sun during such an event, allowing a steady heating of the atmosphere in the past. But the earth hasn’t moved any closer or farther from the sun since scientists have been able to measure it, except for the naturally occurring range of earth’s orbit.
Meanwhile, most scientists claim that the rate of climate change is, to a large degree, man-made. That is also true. Indonesia and other locations on the globe currently have disappearing rain forests, due to man cutting natural trees to install seedlings that will produce palm oil trees – a product used in the manufacturing of diesel fuel. The cutting of trees and the burning of stumps and grasses have released exponentially larger amounts of CO2 and other gases into the atmosphere.
We have millions and millions of gas-driven vehicles on the roads, emitting tons of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. We have factories, and power plants emitting the same poisons, along with other pollutants such as Sulphur dioxide and Nitrogen oxide. We heat our homes with coal and oil products which produce even more CO2. By ignoring the effect of these practices on our air quality, we’re hastening the process so that the changes that might take place over several thousand years are taking place at a much faster rate.
Crops are susceptible to temperature changes of only a couple of degrees, depending on the stage of growth. Some plants become stunted when subjected to a slight rise in temperature during germination. For example, by mid-century, corn and rice will be affected by higher temperatures to the point of forcing farmers to plant other crops, instead of these staples. Other concerns to crops are droughts and seasonal flooding.
How can we know how much is man-made and how much is just nature in action?
Well, we know that changes are happening faster, so that might be one way. We can’t change the Universe, the Solar System or our Sun. What we can do is measure the changes on earth, watch them while continuing to do research, and doing the things we already know have had an impact in the past. In 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created and adapted the Clean Air Act. Besides the damage the pollutants do to the atmosphere, they also contribute to asthma, bronchial difficulties, coronary heart disease and other cancers and disorders. A reduction in smog also brought a reduction in health complications to the big cities.
Scientists can also tell from ice cores and rock strata that CO2, or carbon monoxide played a part in warming from the Ice Age. This wouldn’t be man-made 20,000 years ago. But it could’ve come from natural sources such as the CO2 released by plant life, or even methane produced by dinosaurs. Volcanoes also spew ash into the air, blanketing and warming the earth. Those factors are still in play today, and the width of the layers on the cores or strata show a comparison of more recent changes to that of thousands of years ago.
One problem with that is, when large swaths of trees are cut, huge amounts of CO2 are released in the atmosphere. Where the peat wetlands need to be cleared after a drying period, the remaining stumps and debris are set afire. This releases even more CO2. This carbon monoxide is eating away at our protective layers of Ozone and the Stratosphere, allowing more and more of the sun’s rays to penetrate and cause land heating, plus risk factors to plants and animals, including humans for exposure to harmful UV rays. Indonesia is just an example. There are hundreds of forested areas around the globe that clear the trees for palm oil and other crops, or for community and industrial development.
Recently, the forest fires have contributed again to the smog levels. Some regulations have been cut so that factories are now puffing out pollutants again. The gray skies are returning.
The United States isn’t the only culprit. China, India, Europe and virtually every industrialized nation has pollution problems and smog. The Paris Agreement, reached in 2015 put together actions that we, as nations could and must take to reduce the destruction of our air, which if allowed to continue at the rate it is now, might make earth certainly less healthy, and possibly uninhabitable within a century or two. Fortunately, all industrial nations have signed onto the Paris Agreement and are working diligently to provide sustainable air quality. The United States government has stopped actively working against climate change, but most of the individual states have continued their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
Climate Change is simply a more complete picture of what is happening with Global Warming. Global Warming doesn’t eliminate the fact that some winters are colder than others from time to time. It just means that the average temperature of the earth is rising on a steady basis. – The End