The study of long-term weather patterns and climate (including temperature and precipitation), especially on Gaian Type planets.

Global atmospheric and climatic changes may be caused naturally by changes in the planetary orbit, variations in solar output, changes in atmospheric composition (such as greenhouse gases from organisms or from volcanic eruptions), ocean currents, and so on; or artificially by megascale engineering, use of nano aerostats, utility fog and so on. Study of past climates and careful simulations allow accurate predictions about near-term weather patterns climate changes, and the effect of development, colonization, and other activities on the local climate.

Paleoclimatology is the study of the climate in the distant past.
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    Fluctuations in temperature on Garden Worlds, especially ice ages, caused by slight variations in the amount of sunlight reaching the planet caused by the eccentricity of its orbit around its primary. The orbital eccentricity changes the planet's average distance from the sun and therefore slightly changes the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth. Eccentricity cycles last over 100,000 years. The theory was first proposed by the Old Earth human Milutin Milankovitch in 31 AT (1938 c.e.).
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
based on the original by Robert J. Hall
Initially published on 24 September 2001.