Have you ever wondered about the difference between climate and the weather? Simply put, the climate is what you expect the weather to be, and the weather is what you actually get.
Climate is the typical weather that is averaged over a period of time for a specific location, while the weather is the day to day state of the atmosphere. Along with these differences, the weather is forecasted and climate is predicted.
Weather forecasts answer questions such as when it is expected to rain or what the temperature will be tomorrow. Forecasts can also tell you approximately how much rain you’ll get and if you should expect thunderstorms. Most weather forecasts are made using models which include the study of the air pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind. Observing patterns in these weather changes enables forecasters to estimate current and future conditions.
Weather includes sunshine, rain, cloud cover, winds, hail, snow, sleet, freezing rain, flooding, blizzards, ice storms, thunderstorms, steady rains from a cold front or warm front, excessive heat, heat waves and more. These are all things that can occur on a day by day, hour by hour or minute by minute time frame – therefore they are weather, not climate.
Climate predictions use a much longer-term view, unlike weather forecasts that study what is currently happening. The climate predictions also answer an entirely different set of questions than weather forecasts. The predictions answer questions such as how much warmer Earth will be 50 to 100 years from now or how much the sea level will rise over a long period of time. Unlike forecast models, climate models do not use observations.
If you are wondering why – we don’t have the use of a time machine; therefore climate predictors cannot observe anything that occurs in the future. Climate prediction began in the late 1700s with Thomas Jefferson and continues today using much more advanced methods. On a national level, the world’s most extensive research efforts are coordinated by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
Agencies such as NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other federal agencies and private sectors all partner in the effort to address challenges of global warming and find ways to strengthen the economy.