climate change, climate variability, global warming, global change, greenhouse effect

climate change: the long-term change in Earth’s weather patterns. Although the term is often used to refer to anthropogenic climate change – that is, caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and mass deforestation – Earth system events, such as volcanic eruptions and tectonic plate movements, also contribute to climate change

climate variability: the year-to-year change seen in regional weather; should not be used interchangeably with climate change

global warming: the increasing average global air temperature that is associated with climate change

global change: planetary-scale changes in atmospheric circulation, ocean circulation, climate, the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the water cycle, sea ice, sea level, food webs, biological diversity, pollution, health and so on

greenhouse effect: the process by which radiation from a planet’s atmosphere warms the surface of the planet to a temperature above what it would be in the absence of an atmosphere. Anthropogenic climate change is sometimes referred to as the enhanced greenhouse effect

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