Are climate change and global warming one and the same?
SHORT ANSWER: No!
Newspapers, TV anchors, celebrities, politicians – they all talk about climate change and global warming interchangeably, as if these two were one and the same thing.
Are they? Do Climate Change and Global Warming mean the same?
Climate refers to the composite weather conditions of a region, which includes temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, cloudiness, and wind. Climate refers to all these things. So, when we talk of climate change, we are referring to changes in one or more components that constitute climate. (see also: What is Climate Change?)
Global warming, on the other hand, refers only to the earth’s rising surface temperature. When we talk of global warming, we are thus referring only to the increasing temperature. (See also: What is Global Warming?)
While climate change and global warming are thus different, there is however a clear relationship: Just as temperature is one component of climate, global warming is a component of climate change.
In summary: Global warming is not the same as climate change; rather, global warming is a component of climate change.
Put another way: Climate Change = Change in Many Things (including temperature) that Constitute Climate; Global Warming: Increasing Temperature
All right, now that you know that climate change and global warming are not the same, you might also want to know the following:
- How do we know that climate is changing? – See answer
- How do we know humans are causing climate change? – See answer
- What causes global warming? – See answer
- Why are climate change and global warming serious problems? – See answer
- What are the harmful effects from climate change and global warming? – See answer