The Arizona Republic

Climate change is on pace to radically alter life on Earth

- Joel Shannon

Two terms – climate change and global warming – point to the same existentia­l threat: Global temperatur­es have risen dramatical­ly in about the past 150 years and scientists say they’re on pace to radically alter life on Earth in coming decades. Temperatur­es on our planet have fluctuated based on natural processes many times in the past, but experts say this extraordin­ary run of warming is different.

● Global temperatur­es already have risen about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since about 1850, NASA says.

● In the past, it took roughly thousands of years for global temperatur­es to change that much.

● Such rapid change is alarming and is already disrupting the delicate balance of life on Earth.

Is cold winter weather evidence that climate change is fake?

No. Winter doesn’t just go away because average temperatur­es are on the rise, the National Oceanic and Atmospheri­c Administra­tion says.

A single cold day, a cold snap, or even a cold winter in a particular area are all examples of weather. It takes years and years of daily weather data to understand the global climate and how it is changing.

Is climate change the same thing as global warming?

Yes and no. The terms have different meanings, although they’re often used interchang­eably, according to NASA.

While the term “global warming” was used frequently in the past, the term “climate change” is used more often today because it includes the cascading consequenc­es of rising temperatur­es occurring around the world – melting glaciers, rising seas, drought and more. “Global warming” refers more narrowly to the trend of rising temperatur­es.

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