As of late, there seems to have been some confusion between three commonly used scientific terms: climate, weather and global warming.

Climate is the description of the long-term weather patterns in a particular region. When scientists talk about climate, they include precipitation patterns, temperatures, number of sunny days, wind speeds and other observable weather such as fog and frost.

Climate is essentially the measure of weather over time. For example, if your rain gauge or local reservoir has experienced a decline or change in precipitation over a period of time, say 30 years as it’s usually recorded, and if it continues to keep the same trends, that is climate change.

Weather can change minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day and season-to season. Weather includes sunshine, rain, cloud cover, winds, hail, snow, sleet, freezing rain, flooding, blizzards, ice storms, thunderstorms, steady rains from a cold front or warm front, and excessive heat. Weather is the way the atmosphere is behaving in relation to its effects upon life and human activities.

Global warming is an average of the increase in temperature in the upper atmosphere which can contribute to changes to global climate patterns. The main factor that contributes to global warming is increased carbon emissions from humans. Global warming also reflects the increase in temperature on a planetary scale, not just one particular region as so many like to believe. The concern is that global warming is increasing and the greenhouse gas emissions that cause the warming trend will continue into the future. The current scientific projections show that temperatures will increase by six to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. It’s time to act now for our planet, our children, grandchildren and most importantly, the human race.

Andy Boyd

Bozeman

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