The phrase global warming refers to the documented historical warming of the Earth's surface based upon worldwide temperature records that have been maintained by humans since the 1880s. The term global warming is often used synonymously with the term climate change, but the two terms have distinct meanings. Global warming is the combined result of anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions of greenhouse gases and changes in solar irradiance, while climate change refers to any change in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the average and/or the variability of its properties (e.g., temperature, precipitation), and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer.
Finally, an increase in solar irradiance since 1750 was estimated to have caused a forcing that contributed to the recent warming of the Earth. However, the impact of the increase in the amount of sunlight striking the Earth each year during this ~250 year time span was estimated to be only about 1/20th of the warming impacts of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.