Most of us have been taught the basics of the greenhouse effect: the sun shoots its rays through the atmosphere (or ozone holes); These rays bounce off the surface of the earth and are trapped by carbon dioxide, methane, and other heat-trapping gases when trying to return to space. If you release too many of these so-called greenhouse gases, repeat the process and voila! You have global warming.
A slightly warmer globe will not necessarily change the climate. However, heat the planet enough and you get many wild, indirect consequences – the scientists like to put the generic term Climate change. While global warming is a specific function of these trapped gases, climate change is only more complicated.
Ocean acidification is a clear example of climate change that is not part of global warming at all. Sure, the surface temperature of the ocean is getting warmer, the salinity changes due to the melting of the ice and the sea level rises. All of this can be attributed to a warming planet. Oceans also store half of the total carbon released by humans and nature. A side effect of more carbon in the air is an increase in the amount of carbon absorbed by the ocean, which changes the acidity of the water ̵
In another example, Superstorm Sandy was caused in 2012 – and other massive storms like this – by global warming or climate change? For many scientists, this weather event was a clear product of global warming. Warming temperatures result in more evaporation and moisture in the air, warmer oceans and a more energetic storm. Then there was the unusual movement of a cold jet stream dropping south from Canada, giving Sandy tons of energy and helping him land where he was. This was due to a change in the North Atlantic Oscillation, a pressure system that was likely to tip over due to an increase in Arctic ice melt due to – drum roll, please – warming temperatures.
“Events like Sandy are more likely and will get worse from the warming,” Abraham told Mental Floss. “But they manifest themselves in a different way: stronger precipitation events, floods and rising sea levels. Most people don’t link [things like] Precipitation directly to global warming. “In short, that’s why scientists prefer the term Climate change– It’s a better way to describe insanely complex systems.