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Is Climate Change the Same as Global Warming – We Asked a NASA Scientist: Episode 46

Is climate change the same as global warming?

Not quite. They each have their own meanings, but they are related. So what’s global warming? We have seen an increase in the surface temperature averaged over the whole globe over the past century and a half, and that temperature continues to rise. NASA has analyzed data about the Earth’s climate system from multiple sources that tell the same story. On a global scale, the Earth’s surface is heating up because of the increasing amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases that have been released into the atmosphere from humans burning fossil fuels. That’s global warming.

Climate change is a more general term. It also refers to long term-changes over many decades or hundreds of years. But it includes all types of changes in the typical weather climate that can be and have been observed from regional to global scales. NASA has instruments that have observed a diverse collection of the current impacts of climate change, like decreases in ice in the Arctic, droughts, increasing wildfires and increasing surface temperatures. These are all examples of indications of climate change.

So is climate change the same as global warming? Not quite. They have their own specific meanings, but they are related to one another.


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