Understanding Climate Change

What Is It?

Climate change is a change in the trend of weather over a long period of time. It is not a change in the weather from day to day.

Research shows the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. Although climate change is a natural process, human activities are causing the Earth’s climate to change faster than normal.

What is the difference between climate and weather?

Climate refers to the long-term average weather patterns in a given geographic area. Climate conditions (“normals”) are typically calculated for 30-year time intervals.

Weather is what you see outside your window today, or the pattern you see over shorter time spans (for example a "rainy week").

Scientists predict that extreme weather events will continue to increase in both frequency and intensity due to changes in the climate.

How Are Humans Speeding Up Climate Change?

Our world relies on fossil fuels which are non-renewable, meaning they can’t be replaced. Fossil fuels include oil, gas and coal. In Nunavut, all of our energy sources are fossil fuels.

Take a minute to think about what you do in a day. Do you drive a car, charge an iPod or use a stove? If so, you’re burning fossil fuels. With a population of almost 7 billion people, these actions add up and have noticeable results on the Earth.

Imagine a greenhouse. The sun’s rays come in through windows and become trapped inside. This causes the temperature inside the greenhouse to rise. When we burn fossil fuels, the same thing happens to the Earth; gases (known as Greenhouse gases, or GHGs) are released and trap heat from the sun in the Earth’s atmosphere. This creates a warmer Earth.

Every individual who uses fossil fuels — and that includes almost every individual on earth — is contributing towards this. But there are things we as a community and as individuals can do to help improve the situation.

Want to know more?