Why the phrase can do more harm that good.
Since the 80s and 90s the media has used the phrase ‘Global Warming’ liberally. There is nothing wrong with the phrase per se, but calling it as such can lead to a number of misconceptions which people who deny climate change feed on.
It is true, records are showing that the average temperature around the world is rising. Due to this our oceans are being effected especially the fauna found in our coral reefs. Huge amounts of sea and land ice are melting. We can all see it and it’s pretty clear, and is especially touching in this video
Yet, the effects of climate change are far beyond a rise in our thermometers.
The increase in temperature affects the winds and how they rotate around the blue and green ball we call home. Winds are also effected by ocean temperature, temperatures that are also on the rise. With that comes change in ocean currents too.
All the wind and current changes can effect our seasons. Wind pattern changes tend to bring cyclones or anti-cyclones more often into an area, making it experience either droughts or heavy rainfall.
Droughts can even lead to desertification, where arable soil turns to dust, or as we know it, desert.
Heavy rainfall, a disaster we call flooding, doesn’t only happen because of changes in weather patterns but also since warm air can hold more humidity. More humidity means more water in the air that can turn into clouds.
Oceans are also part of the change, warm currents in the northern part of the world tend to make our winters somewhat warmer. If these patterns are disrupted, it will effect our winter temperatures too.
Warm seas fuel the storms as they pass over water. Hence, storms are becoming more and more violent even though you never thought heat has anything to do with it.
Just like storms, Tornadoes also become stronger as they pass over the warmth in our ocean. Therefore, the higher sea temperatures rise, the stronger these acts of nature become.
This is why in the last few years science communicators have turned to phrase ‘Climate change’. It’s not just a re-branding. It’s a phrase which clearly encompasses all the changes that we will face.
In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 29 December 2017
Well you know what, Mr. President. I call check-mate.
- Clark, D. (2011) How will climate change affect rainfall? [Online]. Available at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/dec/15/climate-change-rainfall (Accessed 16 January 2018).
- Ogburn,ClimateWire, S. P. and Ogburn,ClimateWire, S. P. (n.d.) Climate Change Is Altering Rainfall Patterns Worldwide [Online]. Available at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-change-is-altering-rainfall-patterns-worldwide/ (Accessed 16 January 2018).
- US Department of Commerce, N. O. and A. A. (n.d.) What is coral bleaching? [Online]. Available at https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coral_bleach.html (Accessed 16 January 2018).