Raoul on sustainability: Blog 1 Climate, Climate Change and Globalwarming

Climate, Climate Change and Global Warming.

Open a news website, social media, or an old-fashioned newspaper and chances are high that you will encounter one or all of the words climate, climate change and global warming. My experience is that often people use the terms incorrectly or do not fully understand what it means. In this post I try to explain these terms and hope that after reading this you have a better understanding of these concepts.

Let us start with an example to explain climate and climate change. The Sahara desert, is the largest desert on this earth, and is a place where there are high temperatures and little to no availability to water. However on rare occasions even in the Sahara desert snow can fall which results in an odd view, as you can see on the picture. Over a long period of time these periods of snow are incidental and the major weather that is seen in the Sahara desert is high temperature and drought. By collecting these data, and determining the average occurring weather scientist are able to determine the climate of this place. Which for the Sahara Desert is the arid climate. An arid climate is dry and hot all year round, and has little to none water. So in short we can say that climate is the most occurring weather pattern in a particular place. Across the world there are different climates, which can be categorized in six major classes.

Knowing what climate means we can also look at the other to concepts being, climate change and global warming. As you might suspect climate change means a change in climate in a particular place. For example if in the Sahara desert the fall of snow would become the most occurring weather and remain this for a long period of time, over the years one could say that the climate of the Sahara region is changing from a hot and dry climate to a more polar climate, and thus that climate change has taken place in this region.

Since the Industrial revolution, mankind relied more and more on fossil fuels and the combustion thereof. By burning these kind of fuels the gas carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere. CO2 has an unique capability to trap heat coming from the sun that is reflected by the surface of the earth. By trapping all of this heat that is emitted the earth is covered by a sort of blanket of CO2 gas with that that heat trapped, which will lead to an increasing temperatures across the globe. The phenomenon where increases in temperature across the world over a longer period of time are observed is called global warming. As you can imaging global warming is a major contributor to climate change, and both can eventually result a dangerous situation for our planet. Melting of the arctic, increasing sea levels and drought will result in challenges for mankind.

To summarize, climate is the most occurring weather pattern in a particular place, throughout a long period of time. Climate change is the changing of a climate over a long period of time. And lastly global warming is the increase in global temperature.

I hope you found this an interesting read, and learned something. Next week the topic of the blog will be climate myths. I will look into some climate myths and potentially confirm of bust them.

Stay safe and see you next week!