There’s a recent post on uknowispeaksense that presents a video by Hank Green, arguing that global warming is a crappy name. It reminded me that I’d written before about why the term global warming can be misleading (here too).
There are a number of problems with the term global warming. One is that it is generally interpreted only as referring to an increase in surface temperatures and, hence, partly creates confusion when some associate extreme cold with global warming. It also ignores that global warming is more fundamentally an accumulation of energy in the climate system that then leads to an increase in surface temperatures – it’s not just about an increase in surface temperatures. Hank Green correctly recognises this subtlety and suggests that we should really use average global atmospheric energy increase. I agree that we should recognise that it’s about energy and not just temperature.
My main issue with his suggested terminology is that it is a little unwieldy, and also ignores that most of the energy goes into the oceans. Otherwise, he is full of energy and enthusiasm and his video is well worth watching (plus getting the terminology right is fraught with difficulty, so I can’t really fault his attempt).