You may think that weather and climate are exactly the same, but they aren’t actually close definition wise. Yes, they both have to do with the atmosphere and atmospheric changes, but they have different timescales.

Weather is on a daily, hourly, or an almost instantaneous time frame. Climate is the change or average of weather on a yearly, seasonal, or 30 year scale. It’s really the change over period of time.

We will first discuss the term “Climate.”

As mentioned already, climate is over a longer period of time. You can observe average temperatures or rainfall during certain times of the year or how much snow falls on an average season. The climate varies by area and by season. So every place can have a different average , but either way the general rule is to include the 30 year average.

The 30 year average is the definition of climate or the standard observation to compare to and becomes a part of statistics.

This can often be referred to as climate change… the change in the weather pattern. And over a period of time that can be significant. As climate is the trend in the weather pattern– changes in the cycles of variability.

For an example, is it going to be an El Nino year or La Nina? Depending on where you are this can contribute to a change in the weather pattern. It is much harder to predict the climate than it is the weather… because it is on a much bigger time frame.

Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, Maryland

Weather is more of the day to day feature of the atmosphere. The timescale here can be minutes to a few weeks at the most. This is typically what you’re experiencing within that time frame. It does make a daily impact on life. It could be raining, sunny, or windy.

There are a lot of different components that can make up weather and it’s basically what is going on in the atmosphere right now. As mentioned already, it can vary from different weather ingredients of humidity, sunshine, cloudiness, dew point… the list really goes on.

When it comes to a weather forecast, the more data the better. The chances are that the forecast will be more accurate (but of course there are also a lot of changes in the daily weather pattern) and this does make forecasting very difficult.

The climate can be traced back from taking in past data, like tree rings and ice cores, and using science it can determine what happened in the past. This can also be used to predict a future trend, along with using current conditions.

At the end of the day the saying is: Climate is what you expect, the weather is what you get.

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