Earth has warmed by about 1ºF over the past 100 years. But why?
And how? Well, scientists are not exactly sure. The Earth could be getting
warmer on its own, but many of the world's leading climate scientists think
that things people do are helping to make the Earth warmer.
Greenhouse Effect, Climate Change,
and Global Warming
The Greenhouse Effect: Scientists are sure about the greenhouse effect. They know that greenhouse gases make the Earth warmer by trapping energy in the atmosphere.
Climate Change: Climate is the long-term average of a region's weather events lumped together. For example, it's possible that a winter day in Buffalo, New York, could be sunny and mild, but the average weather – the climate – tells us that Buffalo's winters will mainly be cold and include snow and rain. Climate change represents a change in these long-term weather patterns. They can become warmer or colder. Annual amounts of rainfall or snowfall can increase or decrease.
Global Warming: Global warming refers to an average increase in the
Earth's temperature, which in turn causes changes in climate. A warmer
Earth may lead to changes in rainfall patterns, a rise in sea level, and
a wide range of impacts on plants, wildlife, and humans. When scientists
talk about the issue of climate change, their concern is about global warming
caused by human activities.