Global Warming vs. Climate Change

Global Warming and Greenhouse Effect

The Earth Science class is discovering and discussing global warming and climate change.  Part of the discovery today was natural and anthropogenic causes of both.  The students had to decide based upon scientific data:

1)      Is global warming happening?

2)      If it is, is global warming a natural, anthropogenic or combination of both processes?

3)      What is climate change?  Is it good or bad?

4)      Will global warming cause climate change?

5)      What are greenhouse gases and what affect do they have on climate change?

6)      What causes greenhouse gas?

Some of the posters are shown here.  As a class consensus for the questions are

1)      Global warming is happening.  In fact, the average earth surface temperature has risen 1 degree F in the past 150 years.

2)      Global warming is a natural process, but humans are causing it to happen faster that the plants and animals can adapt.  The earth has been slowly warming over the past 10,000 years since the last ice age, but the past 150 years, the rate has increased.

3)      Climate change is when the average temperature and precipitation change over a long period of time.  Climate changes all the time because the earth is constantly changing.  We can’t stop it, but we are causing it to happen quickly.  It is bad because the cold plant and animals cannot adapt that fast.  Animals like polar bears, penguins, seals and some whales won’t be able to survive.  Some coral cannot handle oceans getting warmer and will die.

4)      Global warming is only one cause of climate change, but it is the one area that humans are affecting the most.  Tectonic plates move but very slowly. They cause climate change as well but slowly.

5)      There are 4 greenhouse gases we need to worry about: water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides.  Humans can’t change the amount of water vapor, but we are putting more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  There has not been as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the time of the dinosaurs.   The greenhouse gases trap heat from the sun and do not let it escape back into space.  That heat builds up and causes global warming.

6)      Volcanoes, plant and animals decomposing and respiring and radioactive decay cause some greenhouse gases.  Humans burning fossil fuels are adding additional greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


Global Warming

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