The article “‘Global Warming’ or ‘Climate Change?’: Which Is the Proper Term?” discusses the difference between the terms “global warming” and “climate change” and which term is more appropriate to use. The article explains that “global warming” specifically refers to the increase in Earth’s average surface temperature, while “climate change” refers to a broader range of changes in the Earth’s climate, including changes in precipitation patterns, sea level rise, and more frequent extreme weather events. The article argues that “climate change” is a more accurate and comprehensive term to use, as it encompasses a wider range of impacts and consequences beyond just warming. The article also notes that both terms are commonly used interchangeably in everyday conversation, but it is important to understand their distinctions.
A US National Assessment report in 2000 highlighted the rapid changes in the country’s climate, showing that the average temperature had risen by almost 1°F (0.6°C) over the 20th century. If the current trends continue without interventions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the US will see an average temperature increase of 5-9°F (3-5°C) over the next 100 years. These changes will result in more extreme precipitation and faster evaporation of water, leading to more frequent very wet and very dry conditions. The assessment shows that natural ecosystems are the most vulnerable to the harmful effects of climate change, and some ecosystems, such as alpine meadows in the Rocky Mountains, are likely to disappear entirely. Coastal communities in the Southeast will be at greater risk of storm surges due to sea-level rise. However, in some highly managed ecosystems there may be some benefits, such as increased crop and forest productivity in some areas for the next few decades. Nonetheless, adaptation measures will be necessary, and they will involve trade-offs and costs.
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