Global Warming & Climate Change

Global warming is simply the increase in global average temperatures. Climate change refers to the variation in the Earth's climate over time, felt in different regions as changing weather and climate patterns, such as more frequent drought, more severe hurricanes or shifts in rainfall patterns and distribution. The terms ‘global warming‘ and ‘climate change‘ tend to be used interchangeably.

Scientists predict that the global temperature could rise by up to 2º–3ºC (4º–6ºF) over the next 20 years. This would make the planet the warmest it‘s been for 2 million years.

To understand global warming, first consider that materials expand slightly when heated. This thermal expansion will cause sea levels to rise by around 0.6 m (2 ft) for every 1ºC increase in global temperature. Then add the extra water from melted glaciers and the polar ice caps. Coastlines around the world will be submerged. Coastal cities such as Sydney, Hong Kong, New York, Tokyo and Amsterdam will be under threat. Many low-lying Pacific islands will simply disappear. And that‘s just looking at the rise in ocean levels.

Global warming would also result in a shift in the world‘s weather patterns. Extremes in weather, such as drought, hurricanes and flooding, would become more common – something we‘re already seeing.