Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Global Warming or Global Warning?

Unhappy FeetWhen I hear people talk about the environmental issues I have heard this term used almost interchangeably. Well not by the same people it's just that it seems half of the people think the term they are looking for is Global Warming and the other half think it's Global Warning. In most cases what the people are talking about when they use both terms is the same. It's just an unfortunate twist of the English language that they sound the same. The terms are indeed related to the same topic, but they are not synonyms.  

Global Warming

The term that most all people that use either term are looking for is indeed Global Warming. This is the green house effect which is caused by greenhouse gasses (most commonly CO2 and methane) which is causing the average temperature of the planet to rise, hence Global warming. The globe is getting hotter.

Part of the reason that it's an issue, and there is still debate about whether it's happening (BTW its happening!), is because it is warming relatively slowly. It is slow global warming in that its only a small percentage of a degree per year and year to year it is impossible to FEEL the difference. However scientifically you can measure it and see year after year, decade to decade the planet is warming. You can also see evidence around the globe. The most common example is the melting ice caps. Also keep in mind this is the average temperature. One degree of average global temperature rise is enough to have significant effects. So even if each year is only a part of a degree rise, how many years does it take to make a degree and really start effecting out lives in a major way?

Global Warning

Global warning is really just a term talking about the overall concern about global warming. In other words, the melting of the ice caps is a global warning about global warming. I think global warning was even the name of a movie about global warming, and has been used many times in movies for the same reason. Like I say, they are related terms for sure but they indeed have different meanings. It's because they sound so much alike that there is confusion. It only take a handful of people to get confused to start spreading the word.

So now you know, the correct term for the effect of greenhouse gasses is Global Warming. All the tangible results of greenhouse gasses warming out planet should be taken as strong Global Warnings.

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