Satellite image indicating ocean temperatures

The American writer Mark Twain is credited with saying, "climate is what we expect, weather is what we get." Climate is, generally speaking, the "average" weather trend over long time periods.

Natural processes have changed the Earth's climate dramatically over the last 4.6 billion years. Volcanoes, the energy output of the Sun, the tilt and orbit of the planet relative to the Sun, and the movement of the continents are some of the factors that influence the climate.

Human activities such as burning coal and driving automobiles add greenhouse gases to the ones naturally present in the atmosphere and potentially warm the atmosphere more than normal. Scientists are currently trying to predict the extent of this manmade climate change. Visit BBC Weather to learn more about climate science.

Image: A satellite image indicating Pacific Ocean water temperatures associated with El Niño, a periodic climate pattern. (credit: NASA/JPL)

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Satellite image indicating ocean temperatures Climate

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Climate

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