Global Warming is the cause and climate change is a consequence of global warming.
Global warming is the long-term heating of Earth’s surface observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere.
What causes global warming?
Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface. Normally this radiation would escape into space, but these pollutants, which can last for years to centuries in the atmosphere, trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter.
These heat-trapping pollutants—specifically carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and synthetic fluorinated gases—are known as greenhouse gases, and their impact is called the greenhouse effect.
Climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates.
Changes observed in Earth’s climate since the mid-20th century are driven by human activities, particularly fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere, raising Earth’s average surface temperature.
Natural processes, which have been overwhelmed by human activities, can also contribute to climate change, including internal variability (e.g., cyclical ocean patterns like El Niño, La Niña and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) and external forcings (e.g., volcanic activity, changes in the Sun’s energy output, variations in Earth’s orbit).
A greenhouse gas (GHG or GhG) is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect.
The primary greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and ozone (O3).
Radiative forcing (warming influence) of different contributors to climate change through 2019, as reported in the Sixth IPCC assessment report.
Anthropogenic source of methane and nitrous oxide
Methane and nitrous oxide are important greenhouse gases. They contribute to global warming. To a large extent, emissions of methane and nitrous oxide are connected with the intensification of food production.
- Important anthropogenic sources of biogenic methane are wet rice fields, cattle, animal waste, landfills and biomass burning.
- Important anthropogenic sources of biogenic nitrous oxide are land-use change, fertilizer production and use and manure application.