Many people think of global warming and climate change as synonyms, but scientists prefer “climate change” when describing the complex shifts now affecting our Planet. Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, rising seas, and a range of other impacts. All of these changes are emerging as humans continue to add heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
The Planet is warming, from North Pole to South Pole. Since 1906 the global average surface temperature has increased by more than 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius).
Some species including mosquitoes, ticks, jellyfish, and pests are growing. Other effects could take place later this century, if warming continues. These include:
- Sea levels are expected to rise between 26 and 82 centimeters or higher by the end of the century.
- Hurricanes and other storms are likely to become stronger. Floods and droughts will become more common.
- Less fresh water will be available, since glaciers store about three-quarters of the world’s freshwater.
- Ecosystems will continue to change such as polar bears, won’t be able to adapt and could become extinct.
Today many countries are having a lot of interest in making people understand the importance of the climate for our future and that of the next generations, trying to eliminate plastic, for example, but the fight will still take a long time.