Climate change refers to any significant changes in climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). Climate change may result from:
· natural causes (changes in the sun's intensity, changes in ocean circulation, etc.)
· human activities (burning fossil fuels, deforestation, urbanization, etc.)
Global warming is an average increase in the Earth's temperature, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns. Global warming can occur from a variety of causes, both natural and human. Today, "global warming" commonly refers to the warming that can occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities.
The term climate change is often used interchangeably with the term global warming, but according to the National Academy of Sciences, the phrase 'climate change' is growing in preferred use because it helps convey that there are other changes in addition to rising temperatures.
For more information, visit www.epa.gov/climatechange.