Climate variability includes all the variations in the climate that last longer than individual weather events, whereas the term climate change only refers to those variations that persist for a longer period of time, typically decades or more. The cause of current climate change is largely human activity, like burning fossil fuels, like natural gas, oil, and coal. Burning these materials releases what are called greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere. There, these gases trap heat from the sun’s rays inside the atmosphere causing Earth’s average temperature to rise. This rise in the planet’s temperature is called global warming.