What Is Climate Change?
Climate change is a change in the usual weather found in a place. This could be a change in how much rain a place usually gets in a year. Or it could be a change in a place’s usual temperature for a month or season. Climate change is also a change in Earth’s climate. This could be a change in Earth’s usual temperature. Or it could be a change in where rain and snow usually fall on Earth. Weather can change in just a few hours. Climate takes hundreds or even millions of years to change.
How Is It Different From Weather?
You might know what weather is. Weather is the changes we see and feel outside from day to day. It might rain one day and be sunny the next. Sometimes it is cold. Sometimes it is hot. Weather also changes from place to place. People in one place might be wearing shorts and playing outside. At the same time, people far away might be shoveling snow. Climate is the usual weather of a place. Climate can be different for different seasons. A place might be mostly warm and dry in the summer.
The term global warming refers to the long-term warming of the planet. The term climate change encompasses global warming, but refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet.
Over the last 100 years, the average temperature on Earth has warmed by 1°C. In our day-to-day lives, we may not notice much of a difference if the temperature went up by one degree, but this temperature rise has had a significant impact on the planet.
The temperature is continuing to rise, and the past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record. Currently, countries around the world are working towards the targets set out in the Paris Agreement which aim to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C and limit it to 1.5°C if possible.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was formed in 1988 to collect and assess evidence on climate change. Since then, it has produced a series of alarming climate models. Under these models, most of the planet’s ice cover would melt by the end of the century and trigger a cascade of irreversible consequences, including flooding strong enough to engulf entire cities.