I came across an article titled “Global warming, drought likely lead to decline of Mayan civilization.” Now, word choice error aside (pretty sure the ancient civilization isn’t still declining) the title caught my attention, and I promptly saved it for later reading.
The article talks about the possibility of a drought/dry spell being the possible final nail in the Maya coffin (not global warming per se).
Let’s back up here a minute and look at global warming, the phrase. Global warming is:
an increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, especially a sustained increase sufficient to cause climatic change.
(The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
but, no, actually, it’s linked specifically to the greenhouse effect:
an increase in the average temperature worldwide believed to be caused by the greenhouse effect
(Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged)
but wait–it’s a general warming and a warming caused by the greenhouse effect?
An increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, especially a sustained increase great enough to cause changes in the global climate. The Earth has experienced numerous episodes of global warming through its history, and currently appears to be undergoing such warming. The present warming is generally attributed to an increase in the greenhouse effect , brought about by increased levels of greenhouse gases, largely due to the effects of human industry and agriculture. Expected long-term effects of current global warming are rising sea levels, flooding, melting of polar ice caps and glaciers, fluctuations in temperature and precipitation, more frequent and stronger El Niños and La Niñas, drought, heat waves, and forest fires.
(The American Heritage Science Dictionary)