Climate change may refer to three different things:
Firstly, climate change could be used to denote the study of the variations within the climate across different time scales ranging from a few decades to millions of years, as well as the causes of these variations.
In general, climate change is used to designate any differences between the long-term data for temperature, wind or precipitation calculated during different periods within the same geological area.
This can be caused by:
- Fluctuations in solar activity
- Changes in the Earth’s orbital elements over long periods of time (e.g. eccentricity, obliquity of the ecliptic, precession of equinoxes)
- Natural internal processes of the climate system (e.g. El Nina and El Nino)
- Anthropogenic forcing (e.g. increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases)
Lastly, climate change may refer to a significant change in the average temperature or precipitation over a certain period of time.
These changes have to be important enough to have serious economic, environmental or social effects and the average values are taken over a period of a decade or longer.
This is the definition used by this website.« Back to Glossary Index