A3.7 Climate Change



  • “the general weather conditions prevailing in an area over a long period.”

 Source: Oxford English Dictionary



  • “the state of the atmosphere at a place and time as regards temperature, wind, rain, etc.”

 Source: Oxford English Dictionary


 The weather refers to short-term changes in atmospheric conditions, such as temperature, wind and precipitation (rain, snow, hail etc). Climate refers to average weather patterns over a longer time period.

Climate Change refers to changes to the expected climate. Climate does change over time due to natural causes, such as changes in the earth’s orbit, fluctuations in the sun’s energy, interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere and volcanic eruptions. However, the general consensus today is that the Climate has changed too rapidly for it to be natural and therefore the cause of current climate changes is human activity.

It should be noted that Global Warming is the term used to describe the increasing temperatures of the earth. This is part of Climate Change as a whole.

The Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”. This definition therefore does not include any natural sources of climate change.