Human beings have been trying to predict the weather since time immeasurable, and it’s one of the most important aspects of the natural world with huge implications for humanity in both day-to-day and long-term scenarios.
An understanding of the weather and how it’s likely to change has inspired all sorts of human culture, from governing our agricultural practices to having an influence on our religious festivals and other significant cultural events and phenomenon.
But what exactly is the weather, and how does it compare to the climate? It’s quite common for people to assume these two words mean the same thing.
However, there are many key differences between weather and climate.
In this article, we’re going to look at what separates the weather and the climate, as well as some other key facts and information about the two phenomena.
Weather vs Climate
The weather is essentially the short-term, day-to-day condition of the atmosphere as it occurs from minute to minute out as far as several weeks.
It could be the rain turning to sunshine over the course of an afternoon, or it could be the awful storm that’s forecast for next week, but this sort of short-term fairly predictable analysis is what is considered ‘weather’.
There are many tales of human beings using strange means to predict the weather, from considering a red sky at night to be an omen of good weather to come, or cows lying down on their bellies being a warning of coming rain.
However, in the modern world, the weather can be predicted with incredible accuracy using various meteorological means and this allows us to understand the weather better than ever before.
We monitor various metrics from pressure levels to humidity to wind direction and temperature, and all of this information and much more is used to model the weather and predict it in the short and even long term.
The climate, on the other hand, is a very different thing, and generally means the average weather conditions of a particular region over a much longer period of time, generally several decades or 30 years being the normal range.
The climate of a location is also studied in great depth and changes much like the weather, but these changes are very gradual and are affected by a range of factors, the most famous and controversial one being how humanity is impacting the climate of the world with our industry and technology.
Climates can be hot and dry, cold and wet, and these conditions have a massive impact on the prevailing weather conditions depending on the year and how conditions in the climate are playing out.
In a sense, these two things are intrinsically linked and share a symbiotic relationship but are fundamentally different concepts with very distinct meanings.
What are the Different Types of Climate?
There are five main types of climate and each one is totally distinct with its own characteristics.
The Five Main Climate Types Are
Dry regions, true to their name, see very little rainfall and moisture here evaporates very quickly leaving very little chance for precipitation to build up and for water sources to remain stable.
There are many dry climates throughout the world, many of them located around the equator where conditions are hottest.
Temperate climates have warm, wet and humid summers that are often accompanied by thunderstorms, and winters that are quite warm and mild compared to other places.
Tropical climates are hot and humid, and the average temperature remains high all year round, usually above 18 degrees Celsius even in the winter months, and there is a lot of precipitation, usually more than 59 inches per year.
These regions are often very biodiverse and densely vegetated as the conditions are perfect for plant life to thrive.
These regions have warm summers and very cold winters, and can experience serious extremes including strong wind, sub-zero temperatures, and snowstorms too.
The polar climate zones are some of the most extreme in the world and are extremely cold all year around. Even at the height of summer these regions never get warmer than 10 degrees Celsius.