weather vs climate

The difference between weather and climate relates to time.

Weather is considered as the conditions (wet or dry, heat or cold) of the atmosphere over a short period of time. For instance, you can experience poor weather conditions for a day at a time or over the course of a week.

Weather has many components including: cloud cover, wind, amount of sunshine, amount of heat, and type and amount of precipitation (rain, snow, hail, etc.). Weather can change in minutes, hours, days, and over the course of seasons.

Climate is the long-term “behaviour” or patterns of the atmosphere. This considers: wind, precipitation, humidity, temperature, and other meteorological variables. Different geographical regions will experience different climates (and therefore also changes in climates).

Some scientist define climate as the average weather conditions over a long period of time. This includes the average amount of rainfall, temperature, sunshine, and sometimes the frequency of extreme weather events (such as thunderstorms, blizzards, flooding events, and other intense weather conditions). Climate is considered on a regional scale.

The difference of time reminds us why we need to consider climactic changes over weather changes. We can still experience cold days as the climate warms overall. We can still experience rainy days and rain storms as the climate becomes dryer over time. Studying climate change and recording weather is important for us to create a better understanding of the long-term pattern we will experience.


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