Climate change is a large and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. Climate change is caused by factors that include oceanic processes (such as oceanic circulation), biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions, and human-induced alterations of the natural world. These effects are what is causing global warming. "climate change" is uaslly used to desicribe human impacts on our planet. Scientists work to understand more past and future climate observations and theoretical models.