Exploring weather of the past centuries, scientists say that we live in a period of warming ice age. Huge masses of ice four times shackled Northern Europe and again retreated, Between periods of cold weather climate was so warm that hippos frolicking in our rivers and elephants roamed the land.
It is quite possible that it will come again cooling, during which the ice towards Europe, but a new glaciation may occur for a very long time. Previous warming period lasted 50 000 years, the current began only 10 000 years ago.
But there are not so dramatic climate change. Just 200 years ago, the rivers of Western Europe, which now does not freeze in winter regularly shackled ice. And in the historical period, the Sahara desert occupied a much smaller area than it is today. These climatic changes are thought to be caused by the fact that the amount of heat our planet gets from the Sun increases or decreases.
Here are a few possible explanations. The path of the Earth around the Sun can take the form of more flattened ellipse, or change the tilt of the earth's axis. In both cases, the winter will be colder and summers are warmer.
But human activities also affect the climate. The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, natural gas, increases the content in the air of carbon dioxide. And this carbon dioxide and is responsible for ensuring that delivered by the Earth heat is returned to the atmosphere of the planet. Even a small increase in the content of this gas can cause an increase in the average temperature. Scientists have calculated that warming of 2°C is enough for the polar ice melted and the water has flooded low-lying areas.