Fracking is a controversial form of drilling that uses high-pressure liquid to create cracks in underground shale to extract natural gas and petroleum. Carbon emissions from fossils fuels like these have been linked to global warming and climate change.

Photograph by Mark Thiessen
  • Climate change is the long-term alteration of temperature and normal weather patterns in a place. This could refer to a particular location or the planet as a whole. Climate change is currently occurring throughout the world as a result of global warming. Global warming is an increase in the planet’s overall temperature due to the burning of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil, and coal. Burning these materials releases certain gases into Earth’s atmosphere. These gases trap the heat from the Sun’s rays inside the atmosphere, causing Earth’s average temperature to rise.

    The warming of the planet impacts local and regional climates. Climate is different from weather because it is measured over a long period of time whereas weather can vary daily, or from year to year. The climate of an area includes averages of seasonal temperatures, rainfall, snowfall, and wind patterns. Different places have different climates. A desert, for example, is referred to as an arid climate because it is dry year round. Other types of climate include tropical, which is hot and humid, and temperate, which has warm summers and cooler winters.

    The effects of climate change make average temperatures and weather patterns more unpredictable. In an arid region, for example, this may mean higher than average temperatures and more severe or prolonged droughts. In a temperate region, it may mean that there is a lot of rain one year, and then very little rain the next year. These unpredictable weather patterns can therefore make it difficult to grow crops and maintain farmland in temperate zones because the temperatures and rainfall that farmers had come to expect can no longer be relied upon. Climate change has also been connected with other damaging weather events such as more frequent and more intense hurricanes, floods, downpours, and winter storms.

    In polar regions, the warming global temperatures associated with climate change have meant ice sheets and glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate from season to season. This contributes to sea levels rising in different regions of the planet. Together with expanding ocean waters due to rising temperatures, the resulting rise in sea level has begun to damage coastlines as a result of increased flooding and erosion.

    Climate Change

    Fracking is a controversial form of drilling that uses high-pressure liquid to create cracks in underground shale to extract natural gas and petroleum. Carbon emissions from fossils fuels like these have been linked to global warming and climate change.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    atmosphere Noun

    layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.

    Encyclopedic Entry: atmosphere
    climate change Noun

    gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.

    Encyclopedic Entry: Earth's Changing Climate
    fossil fuel Noun

    coal, oil, or natural gas. Fossil fuels formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals.

    glacier Noun

    mass of ice that moves slowly over land.

    Encyclopedic Entry: glacier
    humid Adjective

    air containing a large amount of water vapor.

    sea level Noun

    base level for measuring elevations. Sea level is determined by measurements taken over a 19-year cycle.

    Encyclopedic Entry: sea level
    temperate Adjective

    moderate.