Climate change is the long-term change in weather patterns
(for example, an increase or decrease in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, droughts or floods) over periods of time ranging from decades to millions of years. The terms “climate change” and “global warming” are often used interchangeably. However, global warming pertains only to the average increase in the Earth’s surface temperature, while climate change covers a wide range of potential changes in weather patterns, including changes in temperature and precipitation.
Among other impacts, climate changes can negatively affect habitat by creating changes in average temperatures and precipitation that may make it difficult for plants, animals and humans to survive. Greenhouse gases produced by humans, mainly through the burning of fossil fuels (for example, coal, oil and petroleum products like gasoline), are a significant contributor to modern climate change.