At its most basic level, climate change refers to any change in weather patterns that has been recorded over an extended period of time. There was, for example, a climate change with the onset of the last Ice Age. Scientists have used geological evidence to chart the course of Earth’s climate over the past in order to understand how and when the climate changed.
However, there is a more modern and immediate sense of climate change as referring to the process of carbon dioxide build-up in the atmosphere, known popularly as global warming. Climate change is a better term than global warming, since increased atmospheric carbon, while indeed warming the Earth, also leads to hurricanes with greater force, and the increased likelihood of colder winters due to polar vortex moving down over North America.
Scientists are increasingly convinced that climate change is occurring as the result of human activity. It is predicted that the Earth’s temperature will rise anywhere from 0.3°C to 4.8°C (0.5°F to 8.6°F) throughout the 21st century. The impacts of climate change will vary by region. Sea levels will rise, and subtropical deserts will expand. Some areas will experience droughts, while others will experience increased heavy rainfall. Climate change does not bode well for the future of the human race, and may lead to food security issues.