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What is Climate Change?

We are hearing a lot about climate change in the media these days as further evidence shows that the climate is in deed changing.

The term ‘climate’ normally describes the average weather we get over a long period of time. When our climate changes, the weather we experience locally day to day can also change.

Over the millions of years of the earth’s existence, the climate has changed many times. However, when we use the term ‘climate change’ now, it is to describe shifts in temperature over approximately the last 100 years and the next 100 years or so.

How is the planet getting hotter?

Our planet is surrounded by a blanket of gases which keeps the surface of the earth warm and able to sustain life. This blanket is getting thicker, trapping in heat as we release greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels for energy and as we cut down forests and replace them with agricultural land. As a result, our climate is starting to change.

What will be the impact of climate change?

Scientific research indicates that, because of climate change, we may experience more intense and more frequent extreme weather events. A gradual increase in temperature also has major implications for ecosystems, growing seasons, animals and their habitats.

Some changes to the climate are inevitable – even if we stop emitting gases now, the gases we have already released will have an effect. However, we must do everything we can to avoid further changes and to adapt to the new situation we find ourselves in.