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The climate is the weather averaged over a long period of time. In a given geographical region, the climate generally does not vary over time on the scale of a human life span. However, over geological time, climate can vary considerably for a given place on the earth. For example, Scandinavia has been through a number of ice ages over hundreds of thousands of years (the last one ending about 10,000 years ago). Paleoclimatology is the study of these past climates.

Climate is a concept used to divide the world into regions sharing similar climatic parameters. Climate regions can be classified on the basis of temperature and precipitation alone — one of the most popular methods of climate classification is that developed by Vladimir Köppen:

Köppen's climate classification scheme

See also climate change.