Climate is the long-term state of the atmosphere at a particular location--in a sense, the "average weather" over a long period of time. Climate varies significantly around the globe, and not randomly.
At the end of the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago, glaciers covered much of Europe and North America. Fed by ocean waters, the polar ice caps thickened and expanded, causing global sea level to drop far below its current level. Still recovering from the Ice Age, the Earth is about 5°C (9° F) warmer today than it was then, and global sea level continues to rise. The past century alone has seen global temperature increase by 0.6° C (1° F), and the average global sea level over the past decade has risen steadily. Is this the result of Global Warming or Global Climate Change?
Here is what we know about the Earth's climate:
How do we account for these phenomena? Several factors are of paramount importance: