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Different factors operate on different time scales, and not all of those factors that have been responsible for changes in earth's climate in the distant past are relevant to contemporary climate change.
In addition to natural causes of climate change, changes internal to the climate system, such as variations.
In ocean currents or atmospheric circulation, can also influence the climate for short periods of time.
Climate change can involve both changes in average conditions and changes in variability, including, for example, extreme events.
The earth's climate is naturally variable on all time scales.
The build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has led to an enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect.
It is this human-induced enhancement of the greenhouse effect that is of concern because ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases have the potential to warm the planet to levels that have never been experienced in the history of human civilization.The dominant product of fossil fuel combustion is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.The overall effect of human activities since the Industrial Revolution has been a warming effect, driven primarily by emissions of carbon dioxide and enhanced by emissions of other greenhouse gases.Human activity is the main cause of climate change.People burn fossil fuels and convert land from forests to agriculture.It is called a greenhouse gas because it produces a “greenhouse effect”. Carbon dioxide and other substances are referred to as climate forcers because they force or push the climate towards being warmer or cooler.The greenhouse effect makes the earth warmer, just as a greenhouse is warmer than its surroundings. They do this by affecting the flow of energy coming into and leaving the earth’s climate system.Of these, the two factors relevant on timescales of contemporary climate change are changes in volcanic activity and changes in solar radiation.In terms of the Earth's energy balance, these factors primarily influence the amount of incoming energy.This natural internal climate variability is superimposed on the long-term forced climate change.The Earth's climate can be affected by natural factors that are external to the climate system, such as changes in volcanic activity, solar output, and the Earth's orbit around the Sun.