The debate on Global warming rages on, but what we really needed at this point is a basic understanding of it. You can look at facts and opinions from hundreds of qualified people on both sides of the argument but if we as an average person don’t understand the basic concept then what is the point?

Global warming the issue with understanding

Global warming is defined as man-made carbon dioxide or that the emission of fumes from fossil fuels is increasing global temperatures. The definition in itself is a little scary and if you do not have a strong science background, can absolutely be confusing.

On top of it being confusing to explain, both sides of the argument are incredibly polarizing.

One side says there is no issue and it is simply a natural process that occurs and has occurred throughout the history of the entire world. While another side speaks of the incredible dangers if we do not solve this problem immediately such as the doubling of coastline flooding all over the world. This article is not here to convince you of one side or another but to give you a basic idea of what is meant by global warming.

The basic definition of global warming, excluding causes, is that the Average Global Temperature is increasing. People often look at the record lows experienced recently as examples of the fact that global warming is not occurring or even instances where areas recorded an average decrease in annual temperature.

Global warming simplified

The best way I’ve found to think about global warming is like an average on a test or exam. We’ve probably all taken a few exams or tests at some point in our lives.

In this case “global temperature” is our exam. First, let’s define average. It is a number expressing the central or typical value in a Data Set. This means we add up all of the points in the data set and divide them by the total number of data points to get an average that represents the entire data set.

Let’s say the exam, or test average, in 2017 was 84 out of 100.

Now assuming that all of the students did not score exactly an 84, which is extremely unlikely, there will be some test scores below 84 and some above. For example, if four students took the test or exam, their scores could look something like 68, 82, 91 and 95. We would add up all of the points in the data set and divide by four to get an average of 84 (feel free to check my math).

Now, if in 2018, the test or exam average is 86 out of 100, the average score or global temperature has increased from 2017 to 2018 by two points. However, this does not necessarily mean all the scores increased. For example, four students could have scored 61, 88, 98 and 97, for an average of 86 out of 100 (again feel free to check my math).

It is possible that all students scored better but in this case, one student scored significantly worse than the worst score in 2017 (a 68 was the lowest in 2017 but a 61 was the lowest in 2018), but all of the other scores increased. So the average score increased, but not all of the scores themselves increased.

How does this relate to global warming or an increase in average global temperature? Simply? What global warming means, is that the average global temperature has increased. So it is possible that some areas may actually experience a lower annual temperature or that, in some cases, we will see extremely low temperatures. Overall, with many individuals getting involved and taking temperatures around the world over time, it has become clear that global temperatures have increased. So whether or not you believe global warming is man-made, natural, or a sham all together, you now have an idea of what people actually mean when they say global warming.