Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Climate and Weather

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 2, 2015

Have you ever wondered why “climate change” is not referred to as “weather change”?  Or why a “weather bureau” is not called a “climate bureau”?  This could just be useless wordplay but these words “climate and weather”, often used interchangeably or in the same sense, are two terms that are definitive and exact in their meaning.  Although they are synonyms, they have different applications.

CLIMATE is defined as: (1) the average long-term pattern of weather in a particular area or region.  Climate normally undergoes a cyclic change over a longer period of time covering years, decades, centuries or millennia; (2) the average course or condition in a particular place or area over a period of time exhibited by temperature, wind velocity and precipitation; and, (3) the prevailing set of environmental conditions on a particular region on earth characterizing a long period of time.  On the other hand, WEATHER is defined as the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness over a relatively short period of time. 

Aside from application, the main and obvious difference between the two terms is the period of time whereby they occur… shorter for weather and longer for climate.  Most people think of weather in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, brightness, visibility, wind, and atmospheric pressure (as in high or low pressure).  Weather is what’s happening in the atmosphere on any given time in a specific place.  (For more details on “The Atmosphere”, please click on this link:  Climate is the average of these weather ingredients over a long period of time.  As Mark Twain and Robert Heinlein said, “Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get.”

Next time you find these terms in use, you would now have a better idea what they are… climate and weather.

Just my little thoughts…

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